It’s important to keep thorough training records because they help to demonstrate your compliance with environment, health, and safety (EHS) regulatory requirements. But that’s not the only use you can make of your training records.
Among other things, your training records can provide you with leading indicators you can use to evaluate the effectiveness of your overall safety program. Here’s how your training records can help you gauge your safety performance.
Is Your Training Complete?
In order for training to serve as a genuine indicator of EHS performance in your workplace, it will need to be a significant component of your safety program. If training has gone to the backburner (e.g., if the funding has been cut, if workers are not being trained, if training is incomplete or out-of-date), well, that ought to tell you something right away.
So, the first thing you’ll want to ask is: Is our training complete?
The indicators that will tell you whether your training program is functioning will include:
- The percentage of new employees who complete orientation each quarter;
- The percentage of training programs completed, compared to those assigned or required; and
- The percentage of workers who complete job-related training each quarter.
Do Workers Understand their Training?
Of course, you can provide training to workers almost daily without actually teaching them anything. Another important set of leading indicators will tell you whether your workers are actually understanding the training they receive.
Tease out of your training records:
- Workers’ scores on posttraining tests and evaluations; and
- Whether workers’ evaluations of their training are positive or negative.
You can plot these data against other information about the training, including what type of training it was (live, computer-based, etc.), the trainer’s credentials, and the amount of time the training took. This will give you an idea of what factors are contributing to greater understanding.
Is Your Training Making the Workplace Safer?
Does training make your workplace safer? The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certainly thinks so, and as a result, it requires a lot of training. But is OSHA correct?
Your training records hold the answer to that question. Collect information on:
- The number of training hours provided
- The number of workers who receive training of a specific type
Next, plot that data against overall incidence rates, as well as the incidence rates for specific types of accidents covered by training—for example, how does your forklift training correlate with your rate of forklift accidents and incidents? This can tell you whether your training is actually making the workplace safer. If it’s not, you can use the data to try to figure out where the problem is.
Is Your Training Cost-Effective?
It’s also important to know where your training dollars are going and whether you’re getting your money’s worth.
Take a close look at how much you spend on training each quarter, and compare that to spending on accidents and incidents. If there’s no connection between more spent on training and less spent on incidents, you may not be getting what you’re paying for.
Need more advice on using leading and lagging indicators to evaluate your program? Safety.BLR.com can help you gauge your progress.