Just How Important is Safety Training?

Today’s Advisor looks at several recent cases in which safety training may have saved employee lives.

Case studies provide real-life examples of why it is important for learners to complete safety training and apply that knowledge back on the job. Let’s look at a few.

In only one month last year, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued statements regarding citations to five companies where training might have helped save a worker’s life.

  1. OSHA proposed fines of $157,000 against a plumbing company, as a result of a January 16 incident in which a worker died from injuries sustained when a trench collapsed at a jobsite in Hastings, Nebraska. The company was cited for failing to train workers on trenching hazards and four other safety violations.


“This tragedy might have been prevented with the use of protective shoring that the company planned to bring to the jobsite that afternoon. All too often, compromising safety procedures has tragic consequences, and hazards like these cause numerous deaths and injuries every year,” said Bonita Winingham, OSHA’s area director in Omaha. “No job should cost a worker’s life because an employer failed to properly protect and train them.”

  1. OSHA also cited a hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal company, for 22 safety and health violations and proposed $325,710 in fines as a result of a December 28 fire and explosion at the Cincinnati waste treatment facility in which a worker was fatally burned. The violations include failure to provide new training to employees assigned to handle waste materials, train workers on the selection and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for protection from various materials that are part of their routine assignments, and provide training and PPE to employees assigned to work on energized circuits.

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  1. Penalties totaling $116,200 were proposed against a sawmill in Timpson, Texas, stemming from a December incident in which a worker was killed after being struck by a broken band saw blade. The 17 alleged safety violations include failure to provide easily understood lockout/tagout training for energy control, as well as to certify that energy-control training was completed and current.
  2. Among other things, OSHA cited a trucking company in Ross, North Dakota, for failing to train workers on chemical hazards and precautions after a worker was fatally injured on March 27 while cleaning the inside of a crude oil tanker that exploded.
  3. OSHA also cited a tool and die company for 17 safety violations, including lack of training, after a maintenance worker was electrocuted on March 6 in Fenton, Missouri.


Each company had 15 days to comply with the citations, request a conference, or contest the citations and penalties.

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Why It Matters

  • Safety training is a vital element in an overall safety program.
  • Workers need to not only be issued with appropriate personal protective equipment, for example, but they also need to be trained on how to inspect it, get a good fit, and store and maintain it properly in order for it to provide maximum protection.
  • Likewise, workers need to be trained on exactly how to carry out safety procedures, and not just handed a manual on Best Safety Practices

1 thought on “Just How Important is Safety Training?”

  1. Great post Kristen! As you said, health and safety training is incredibly important, I’m surprised that the plumbing company wasn’t fined more.

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