How to keep employees engaged with safety training programs and policy

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Keeping employees engaged and ensuring that they understand just how important safety is to your business or workplace is key to accident prevention and greater overall health for those involved. Over 14 deaths occurred on the job every single day in 2017. With greater safety emphasis, some of those deaths may have been prevented.

How to Improve Safety Training

Safety programs are, frequently, something that an employee will be involved with at mandatory intervals. This may be once a year when an accident occurs, or during their initial workplace training. Make sure that every employee is up-to-date on current safety procedures and that any training is provided by a professional.

These two tactics will help ensure that all employees have the same information at all times and that there are no conflicting ideas. This helps create a clear, concise safety plan and may offer an opportunity to collect feedback and clear up misconceptions.

How to Keep Employees Engaged with Workplace Safety Programs

To keep employees engaged, long-term, with any program, you must show that it is something your workplace values. No matter how many training programs you have on offer or how many posters you have up, it won't matter unless you have a "safety first" culture.

Creating this culture can be a long-term process. To start, it's vital that you make an effort to have leadership in this area. The more people that comply with a policy, the more likely everyone is to comply.

Further, if a given employee can solve a current issue with workplace safety, you may wish to offer positive reinforcement. Offering a reward for solutions and speaking up rather than for lack of an accident can help your employees to feel heard and to pay attention to safety policy.

How to Improve Safety Policy Adherence

First and foremost, if there is any sort of safety accident, any employee shouldn't feel like they will be penalized for coming forward. Accidents will happen, and it's better if people think that, when they do, they can get help without losing some sort of incentive or being excluded from a given program.

When any type of safety accident occurs, it should result in a thorough investigation and an attempt to solve the issue, if there was one. Having people come forward can result in the collection of valuable safety data. Yes, it may seem like a setback at the time, but it will result in fewer accidents in the future if you take action.

Further, it allows you to demonstrate just how seriously your company takes safety matters. Every seven seconds, somewhere a worker is injured on the job. Not all accidents are preventable, but all of them provide a valuable opportunity to learn and demonstrate leadership.

Injury Reduction Comes Down to Clarity

For any employee to take safety training seriously and comply with every safety policy set in place, they need to understand it and see it in action. This clarity may make the adoption of safety policy nearly automatic. However, creating this clarity is never as easy as it seems. To get started, it may help to ensure your workplace is meeting the following criteria:

  • Have an Experience-Based Training Program – With an experiential program, it's possible to increase retention of the information learned and encourage participants to want to apply this new knowledge. With the right plan, the retention of information may be as high as 90%. In a crisis, this information may be invaluable. Lectures and print-outs do not qualify as effective training methods.
  • Involve Real-Life Scenarios – Learning safety procedures and “best practices” can be much more meaningful if these are accompanied by the how and why behind them. For example, what can wear a respirator, consistently, do for a person? What will a helmet protect them from in a worst-case-scenario?
  • Get Honest Feedback – Make collecting feedback on safety procedure a regular occurrence. Either ask for suggestions during reviews or provide an anonymous forum for employees to offer solutions or voice concerns.
  • Involve Everyone in the Decision Making Process – If you have a recurring issue with some aspect of compliance or safety, such as head injuries at work, ask your employees to come up with a solution. The exact cause of an issue may be something only those involved are aware of, and the answer may be more straightforward that requires firsthand experience.
  • Create Question and Answers Sessions to Monitor Retention and Progress – Not every employee learns the same way. It's essential to allow everyone the time they need to absorb information. If they miss something, it's also important to know what's being missed and when.