Routine work can dull alertness and a relaxed attitude can replace the caution that existed when the job was new and interesting. In many jobs the same route is traveled daily over the same roads or the same tasks are repeated with little conscious thought. Without some periodic reawakening to the ever-present hazards, lethargy deepens and the odds of an accident occurring can increase.
Workers may not always recognize the importance of safety training or think of it as unnecessary because they have “been doing it for years.” But an important benefit of periodic safety training is the reminder that a danger can exist and that no one is immune to accidents. Therefore, it is important for workers to understand the purpose of the training session, why it will be useful to them, and what can result from not following safety rules and procedures.
The safety training should be organized so that the order in which the material is presented will match the steps that should be taken on the job. Make sure every worker understands the training material; not just that they were present or a test was given. Insist on questions from trainees after a session to tell you what did or did not sink in. This will let you know what has to be reviewed again. If there is a general lack of understanding of hazards or safety rules and practices, schedule another safety meeting or plan a refresher course for a later date.
Employees should be able to immediately practice and apply new knowledge and skills. If workers do not understand safety training information well enough to use it on the job, the training has not been effective. There should be immediate feedback if workers are doing their job safely or not. Supervisors should watch employees do their jobs and question them, to identify what they do, or do not, know.
Most of these tips are relatively simple and inexpensive solutions, but the safety payoff can be enormous. Remember, training is only effective when workers understand, and use, what they have learned. It takes less than a second to lose the rest of your life.