Education is important. We all know that. But in the workplace, proper education can mean the difference between safety and serious injury. As we’ve said before, the workplace can house a lot of hidden dangers for employees. A link to our previous blog on this subject can be found here. A proper education plan is essential to eliminating unnecessary risks and protecting employees’ well-being. To make it a little easier, we’ve put together a short list of tips to help employers better educate their employees.
Find mentors for new employees – Employees should never be asked to perform a task they haven’t witnessed firsthand. Consider mentors for new employees, or host safety trainings where employees can be shown how to properly perform hazardous tasks. Books and work sheets have their place, but paperwork can never replace hands-on learning.
Teach them why – Teaching employees how to perform a task is great, but teaching them why is almost equally important. Employees might know how they should perform an activity, but if they don’t understand the repercussions of not doing it, they may be tempted to cut corners or stray from prescribed safety protocols.
Create “what if” scenarios – Accidents don’t always happen when and how we would expect. When an employee is caught off guard, even the best training can fall flat. Prepare employees to practice safety in unusual circumstances by creating “what if” scenarios.
Provide constructive feedback – Even the best employees need feedback from time to time, even if it’s just to let them know what they’re doing right. Make sure to provide specific examples so employees have a concrete understanding of what they’re doing well and what should be avoided.
Incorporate online tools – Technology provides employees an opportunity to learn in a safe, interactive environment. Computer programs can also make better use of visual activities by utilizing animations and other “in the moment” features. Tests and quizzes can be incorporated at the end of modules to assess the employee’s retention of information.
Engage employees – We all remember sitting in certain classes. The boring lectures, the mindless busywork. Before a workplace safety education program can be successful, employees have to pay attention. Don’t be afraid to include a little humor or ask a senior employee with public speaking experience to lead training sessions. It might even be helpful to provide incentives for successful performance or higher test scores.
Refresh training periodically – When it comes to safety training, once is never enough. It’s important to refresh employee knowledge periodically to ensure maximum retention. The more an employee is reintroduced to information, the more he or she will be able to recall it when needed. This doesn’t have to be formal training, but should be introduced whenever it seems appropriate.
And that’s it! Keep checking back regularly for more great tips to keep employees safe!