Have You Set the Scene for Safety?

Both the law and sound business practice compel you to look beyond specific regulations to assess safety training needs and to plan for effective training.

Before you can roll out a successful safety training program, you have to assess training needs and plan for effective training.

Fail to identify needs, and training will miss the target. As a result, the workplace might not be any safer for all the expense and effort.

Fail to plan training so that it comes at just the right time, in just the right amount, and in just the right form, and the result will be disappointing, too.


Training assessment in the safety field means several things:

  • Needs assessment. What  types of training are specifically required by OSHA? What additional training is necessary for a safe and healthful workplace? What do job hazard analyses, incident reports, etc. tell you about training needs? Who must know what about what?
  • Learning assessment. How will you know after training whether the training was successful? How will you be able to assure that workers understand what they must do and how to do it?
  • Instruction/program assessment. How do you evaluate the success of specific instructional modules and of your overall safety training program? How do you identify necessary improvements? How do you implement changes?

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Planning always follows assessment, and its key elements include:

  • Goals and objectives. What do you want your training to accomplish? How will you know when you’ve achieved it? How will you measure the results of your training?
  • Delivery/format. What’s the best way to deliver training? Classroom? Demonstration? On-the-job? Self-paced? Computer-based? What’s the best way to make training interactive to engage employees in the learning process? What’s the best way to deal with language barriers or low skill levels?
  • Schedules. When and how often is specific training needed? How can you arrange schedules to accommodate supervisors, employees, and production requirements?
  • Written programs. Does regulatory compliance require a written program or policy? Do safety written programs require annual or periodic revision?

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  • Recordkeeping. What information about training do you need to record and retain? Are training records kept in an organized way that supports the program and meets compliance requirements?
  • Trainers. Who will be responsible for training? Will trainers themselves need training in order to carry out training responsibilities successfully? What other resources will trainers need?

These are just some of the issues you must explore when assessing and planning safety training. Tomorrow, we’ll talk more about assessment and planning, introducing safety training’s seven deadly sins—and seven simple virtues.

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