Better Safety Training for New Employees: Using Visuals

better safety training for new employeesNeed to train a worker with no job experience in your industry about all the safety hazards at your site before they can begin working? Or maybe you have to get a new employee acquainted with the safe work practices of a new position he or she just moved into? If so, read on–this post is for you.

Training a newly hired employee about all the critical safety aspects of a job is  tough work. If you’re a safety manager in charge of safety training, we’re not telling you anything you don’t already know.

But what can you do to make your safety training better? One of the smartest things you can do is to use training methods that are proven to work better with learners who are new to the content area. In your case, that means they’re new to safety issues related to working at your site, and/or safety issues related to working a specific job.

We’ll be writing a series of articles explaining different techniques for getting these “novice learners” up to speed in the coming weeks. In this post, we’ll look at one of the most effective: using visuals in your training.

Contact Convergence Training now for help with your safety training, or check out our learning management systems and safety training e-learning courses.

While you’re here, you may want to download this free Guide to Effective EHS Training, too.

Better Visuals Equal Better Training

Learning experts have led many studies that begin with two groups of people, both novices in a specific content area (such as safety at your workplace). Each group was trained on the same topic, and that training covered all the same concepts using the exact same words. However, the training provided to one group included no visuals, while the training provided to the other group included visuals.

After the training, the people in each group were given tests to determine what they learned. The results were dramatic–the people who completed training that included visuals consistently learned significantly more than the people in the other group did.

An Example of Better Safety Training for New Employees: Crane and Hoist Rigging Safety

The courses in the Safety Training library and other workplace-safety libraries created by Convergence Training take advantage of the explanatory power of visuals to help your new employees get up to speed quickly on essential safety topics. Using these courses will help you get workers trained on safety fundamentals–and on the work floor–more quickly. And that will improve your bottom line and your safety record.

For example, check out the small excerpt below taken from our Crane and Hoist Rigging Safety training course. You can see for yourself–no pun intended–how much more effective the visuals make this training on rigging. And you can imagine how similar visuals can help you train your workers on other topics–or, if you don’t want to imagine, check out the samples of our safety training library.

You can use this tip when you’re creating training materials on your own–just remember to add relevant visuals to your training materials. Or, if you’d like to take advantage of the safety training materials by Convergence Training that incorporate life-like visuals, contact us and let us know what you need.

Sources: For more information about the studies described above, please see the book Building Expertise: Cognitive Methods for Training and Performance Improvement by Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark, pp. 34-40.



Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. He's worked in training/learning & development for 25 years, in safety and safety training for more than 10, is an OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer for General Industry OSHA 10 and 30, has completed a General Industry Safety and Health Specialist Certificate from the University of Washington/Pacific Northwest OSHA Education Center and an Instructional Design certification from the Association of Talent Development (ATD), and is a member of the committee creating the upcoming ANSI/ASSP Z490.2 national standard on online environmental, health, and safety training. Jeff frequently writes for magazines related to safety, safety training, and training and frequently speaks at conferences on the same issues, including the Washington Governor's Safety and Health Conference, the Oregon Governor's Occupational Safety and Health Conference, the Wisconsin Safety Conference, the MSHA Training Resources Applied to Mining (TRAM) Conference, and others.

2 thoughts on “Better Safety Training for New Employees: Using Visuals

  1. Great article Jeffrey. I am interested if you have any sources available which support the following quote: “Learning experts have led many studies that begin with two groups of people, both novices in a specific content area (such as safety at your workplace).”

    1. Erik,

      Most any time I’m writing along those lines, I’m referring to research from Richard Mayer out of UC Santa Barbara.

      You can check this book by Mayer–Multimedia Learning:

      Ruth Colvin Clark always writes along the same lines, referring to studies. I’m not sure if they’re the same studies. I recommend her Evidence-Based Training Methods and similar books by her (if you search “clark” on our blog you’ll find some other titles by her).

      Thanks for asking.

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