Looking for some manufacturing safety training tips? If so, that makes sense. There’s a lot to be said in favor of working in manufacturing, but it does pose a set of hazards to the workers.
However, safety managers and other safety professionals work tirelessly to create safer, healthier workplaces for manufacturing employees (and of course, in a good safety culture, they’re working hand-in-hand with the employees themselves), and part of that involves safety training for the manufacturing workforce.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through some key aspects of safety and safety training in manufacturing facilities, and give you tips to help create a safer, healthier workplace.
Before we begin, though, know that you can download a free guide to Effective Safety Training by clicking the download button at the end of this article, or just download any of the free guides and/or watch any of the free webinars listed below.
- Free Guide to Effective Manufacturing Training
- Free Recorded On-Demand Webinar: Effective Manufacturing Training
- Free Guide to Effective Environment, Health, and Safety Training
- Free Recorded On-Demand Webinar: Effective Safety Training
- How to Evaluate Online Safety Training Solutions
- Free Recorded On-Demand Webinar: Evaluating Online Safety Training Solutions
- Free Online Safety Training Buyer’s Guide Checklist
And with all that said, and with those free resources made available, let’s get to listing some manufacturing safety training tips.
Four Keys Aspects of Safety: Safety Management, Hazard Identification and the JHA, the Hierarchy of Controls, and Safety Training
This article is about tips for manufacturing safety training, but we’re not going to just jump right into safety training right away.
That’s because safety training never happens in a vacuum. It’s part of a larger, organized safety and health effort.
As a result, in this article, we’ll discuss:
- The benefits of a safety and health management program
- Hazard identification, including the job hazard analysis
- The hierarchy of control, and the place of safety training within that hierarchy
- Tips for manufacturing safety training
So let’s start our deep dive into manufacturing safety and manufacturing safety training.
Safety and Health Management Programs/Systems
A truly comprehensive occupational safety effort is centered around a safety and health management program or system.
OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs puts it this way:
Establishing a safety and health program in your workplace is one of the most effective ways of protecting your most valuable asset: your workers.
And the national standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, ANSI Z10, has this to say:
There is widespread agreement that the use of management systems can improve organizational performance, including performance in the occupational health and safety arena.
As a result, any effort toward manufacturing safety, including manufacturing safety training, is most effective when grounded within a safety and health management system.
Health and Safety Management Systems in Five Steps
Let’s break this intro to safety and health management systems down into five steps for you:
- Management leadership & employee participation
- Planning your safety and health management system
- Implementing and operating the system
- Monitoring, evaluating, and correcting the system
- Management review of the safety and health management system
Step 1: Management Leadership and Employee Participation in a Health and Safety Management System
The health and safety management program won’t work without management leadership and employee buy-in. Each are equally important, each must be secured initially and faithfully maintained
See this article to read more about management leadership and employee participation in an occupational health and safety management system.
Step 2: Planning a Health and Safety Management System
Your safety and health management program won’t go anywhere without planning, and its continued planning will make it increasingly effective.
As a result, you should not only create an initial plan, but should implement periodic reviews of the plan as well.
Here are four essential action items:
- Collect and analyze all information relevant to safety and health issues and safety and health management system issues
- Prioritize all those issues for attention
- Develop objectives for your safety and health management system
- Create a plan to implement your safety and health management system
See this article to read more about planning a health and safety management system.
Step 3: Implementing and Operating a Health and Safety Management System
Once the system is planned, it’s time to implement the system.
OSHA’s recommended practices for safety and health management address this with a strong emphasis on hazard identification and assessment and, naturally, hazard prevention and control.
Both the hierarchy of controls, which we address in the following section of this article, and safety training, which we address in the section of this article after that, and which is the focus of this article, fit into this step of safety and health management.
Here are some easy ways to get started, drawn from the OSHA document just mentioned:
- Create a reporting system for safety observations, near misses, and incidents
- Train employees to identify hazards
- Train employees to correct hazards
- Conduct regular safety inspections
- Collect ideas about hazard controls from all employees (see our article on learning teams here)
- Put hazard controls into action
- Anticipate and plan for workplace emergencies
- Seek input on workplace changes
See this article to read more about implementing and operating a health and safety management system.
Step 4: Monitoring, Evaluating, and Correcting a Health and Safety Management System
Once you’ve got your safety and health management program, you’ll need to monitor it, evaluate its performance, and correct deficiencies in a never-ending continuous improvement system.
This may sound like a lot, but consider this from OSHA’s recommended practices for safety and health management:
Make Improvements-Set aside a regular time to discuss safety and health issues, with the goal of identifying ways to improve the program.
The ANSI Z10 standard suggests the following steps based on the Deming Plan-D0-Check-Act cycle:
- Monitor, measure, and assess system performance
- Perform incident investigations
- Audit the health and safety management system
- Perform corrective actions of your health and safety management system when called for
- Periodically update the planning process and management review of your health and safety management system
See this article to read more about monitoring, evaluating, and correcting a health and safety management system.
Step 5: Management Review of the Health and Safety Management System
Employers and/or management should periodically review the system to make sure it’s been implemented and is performing as intended.
Here’s how the OSHA recommendations on safety and health management put it:
ONCE A SAFETY and health program is established, it should be evaluated initially to verify that it is being implemented as intended. After that, employers should periodically, and at least annually, step back and assess what is working and what is not, and whether the program is on track to achieve its goals. Whenever these assessments identify opportunities to improve the program, employers, managers, and supervisors—in coordination with workers—should make adjustments and monitor how well the program performs as a result. Sharing the results of monitoring and evaluation within the workplace, and celebrating successes, will help drive further improvement.
After the management review, create a summary of the review that lists the top commitments of upper management and a list of action items, including listing the person responsible for completing the items and target completion dates.
It’s a good idea to periodically distribute status updates on the results of those action items.
See this article to read more about management review of a health and safety management system.
What to Train Employees about Your Safety and Health Management System
Since this article is about safety training, we thought we’d call out that you should provide your employees with training about your safety and health management system, including (1) that you have one, (2) what its purpose is, and (3) what their role in it is.
For More on Safety and Health Management Systems
We hope that helps get you started on a safety and health management system. But know that we’ve got these other, more detailed resources about safety and health management for you as well:
- What Is a Safety and Health Management Program?
- A Look at Different Safety and Health Management Programs and Guidelines
- Comparing Safety and Health Management “Systems” and “Programs”
- The ANSI Z10 Safety and Health Management System Standard (first in a series of six articles on Z10)
- Health and Safety Management: 5 Steps to a Safer Workplace
- Safety Management Best Practices: OSHA’s New Safety Management Guideline
Also, keep your eyes on the progress of ISO 45001.
And finally, you may want to learn some more about various “new” schools of safety, which take “systems thinking” into account. Here are some good starting places.
- What Is Safety Differently?
- Safety Differently and Incident Reporting/Investigation
- Safety Differently and Safety Training
- What Is HOP?
- Preventing Fatalities
- Learning Teams for Safety Improvement
As we learned in our reading above about safety and health management systems, an important aspect of occupational safety and health management is identifying and controlling workplace hazards.
There are several ways to identify hazards at the workplace, and everyone–management, supervisors, safety personnel, and rank and file employees–should play a role.
One of the keys to identifying to hazards at work is to perform a series of job hazard analyses. These are also known as JHAs, and sometimes as job safety analyses or JSA as well. That’s what we’ll focus on in this article, although all aspects of hazard identification are important.
For more on hazard identification, in addition to just JHAs, check out this OSHA webpage on hazard identification.
Before You Perform The Job Hazard Analyses: Four Initial Steps
Here are four tips to keep in mind or to do even before you begin the official JHA process.
Get Employees Involved
Make sure you involve employees, along with supervisors and a safety professional, in the job hazard analysis process. Employees know the job and hazards as well as anyone, and in many cases better.
Review Records of Incidents, Including Near-Misses, Injuries, Illnesses, Fatalities, and Property Damage
Check your incident records to see what type of problems you’ve already been experiencing–and don’t forget those near misses too.
It’s possible you’ve got hazards, perhaps even serious hazards, that haven’t yet caused an incident, so don’t stop there. But your incident list will give you a good point in the right direction.
Ask Your Employees About the Hazards in Their Work Area
Ask employees if they have known hazards in their work area and create a list now, even before you begin the actual JHA process.
Of course, if your workers point out a serious hazard, put a control in immediately.
Make a List of the Jobs or Tasks For Which You’ll Perform Job Hazard Analyses
Make a list of the jobs and/or job tasks at the site and then rank them in the order for which you’ll perform JHAs.
If you can do a JHA for every job, great, but in many cases, that’s not possible.
In those cases, address the jobs with the most serious and/or probable hazards. To help you understand those concepts, check out our Risk Management and Safety article.
With these preliminary steps down, you’re now ready to begin the process of completing your job hazard analyses, described below.
The Steps of Performing a Job Hazard Analysis
Perform the JHA using the following four steps.
Step 1: Break the Job Down into the Steps or Tasks Performing While Completing the Job
Find the best way to perform a job and break it down into a list, listing each step in turn.
Name and number each step, list them in order, plus describe the step, list the hazards associated with the step, and write down some potential hazard controls.
Step 2: Identify and List the Hazards Associated with Each Step
Let’s begin by explaining what a hazard is.
What Is a Hazard?
In general terms, a hazard is something with the potential to cause harm.
Notice that we said a hazard is something that has the potential to cause harm. While it’s important to remember that potential for harm, it’s also worth pointing out:
- A hazard is not the same thing as the injury, illness, or incident itself
- A hazard may never cause an injury or illness (even though it has the potential to)
We’ve listed some categories of hazards for you in the table. below.
|Type of Hazard||Description||Example|
|Safety Hazards||Common hazards that cause immediate injuries and illnesses, and may lead to death||Slip, trip, and fall hazards; working from heights; electrical hazards; moving machines; mobile equipment|
|Biological Hazards||Other life forms that can cause injury or illnesses||Viruses, bacteria, mold, fungi, animal bites/stings, toxic plants, blood and other bodily fluids|
|Chemical and other Exposure Hazards||Things that can cause harm to you when you are exposed||Radiation, temperature (high or low), noise, chemicals|
|Ergonomic Hazards||Strains and stresses on the body caused by workplace motions and body positions||Poorly designed work areas, repeated motions, lifting heavy weights|
|Psychological or Societal Hazards||Hazards caused by interacting with people and social conditions at the workplace||Workplace violence, sexual harassment, stress, depression, alcohol and drug addiction|
OK, now that we know what a hazard is, let’s move on to discuss identifying hazards before they cause harm. This gives you a chance to remove or reduce the potential for harm.
As we mentioned above, once you’ve listed each step or task of the job, list the hazards associated with each task.
While doing so, ask:
- What could go wrong?
- What could cause that thing/those things to go wrong?
- What other factors could contribute to that thing/those things going wrong?
- What would happen if that thing/those things did go wrong?
- How likely is it that that thing/those things will go wrong?
How to Identify Hazards
Here are some ways to identify hazards at work beyond those discussed already:
- Perform routine hazard inspections
- Maintain health and environmental monitoring programs
- Request a free onsite safety consultation from an OSHA inspector
You may find OSHA’s Hazard Identification Training Tool helpful here.
Step 3: Write a Description of the Hazard(s)
Once you’ve identified hazards, write a description of each one.
A good hazard description should include:
- Environment: where does the hazard exist?
- Exposure: who or what might the hazard harm?
- Trigger: is there an event that might cause the hazard to cause harm?
- Contributing factors: are there other factors that could lead to harm?
- Outcome/consequence: what would happen if the hazard did cause harm?
Here’s a one-screen sample from our online Job Hazard Analysis course that demonstrates this.
Step 4: Create a Plan to Control Each Hazard
Your next job is to think of a way to control each of the hazards you’ve identified and described.
While doing so, use the hierarchy of controls, which we’ll explain in detail in the section below.
Remember, though, that you’ll want to prioritize which hazards to address first.
These are the kind of hazards you should address first:
- Hazards that are very likely to cause harm
- Hazards that would lead to very severe consequences
- Hazards that are both very likely to cause harm and would lead to severe consequences (these would be the highest priority of all)
These kind of issues are typically addressed under the topics of risk management and risk assessment. Click to read more about this in our article on risk management and safety.
What to Train Employees about Hazard Identification and the Job Hazard Analysis
It’s a good idea to provide training to employees to help develop their ability to spot hazards–and also how to report them when they do. Also, provide training on what a JHA is, what its purpose is, and the employee’s role in the JHA process.
The Hierarchy of Controls
Once you’ve identified hazards and prioritized them for attention, it’s time to devise controls to make the job safer. Let’s now move on to discuss controlling those hazards.
Controlling Hazards: What Does It Mean to Control a Hazard?
“Controlling a hazard” means considering a workplace hazard and designing a way to:
- Remove its ability to cause harm
- Reduce its ability to cause harm
So, in everyday language, it’s a way to make work safer.
Different Types of Controls
Earlier we listed different types of hazards.
Likewise, there are different types of controls, as described in the table below.
|Elimination||Remove a hazard from the workplace||Changing a production process so that a chemical known to cause cancer is no longer used|
|Substitution||Replace a hazard with something less hazardous||Changing a formula so that instead of working with a highly explosive fluid, workers work with a fluid that’s less explosive|
|Engineering Control(s)||Design a solution that controls the hazard at its source (requires a physical change at the workplace)||Encasing a noisy machine inside a sound-proof barrier|
|Safe Work Practice(s)||Develop specific rules and procedures for all workers to follow when working in the presence of or potentially exposed to a hazard||Placing warning labels on hazardous chemicals|
|Administrative Control(s)||Developing other work practices to protect workers from hazards||Limiting the amount of time workers can work in a noisy area|
|Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)||Protective clothing or equipment that protects a worker from a hazard||Providing hearing protection to people who work in a noisy area|
Let’s talk about a few more aspects of these types of controls.
Elimination and Substitution of Hazards:
You’ll sometimes see these two lumped together within Engineering Controls.
Safe Work Practices:
Some examples of safe work practices include:
Safe Work Practices and Administrative Controls:
You’ll sometimes see these grouped in as forms of Administrative Controls. However, OSHA specifically says “OSHA uses the term administrative controls to mean other measures aimed at reducing employee exposure to hazards” (other than safe work practices, that is).
Which controls should you use first? Is there a method/order?
Yes, there is a “best” order to use when trying to implement hazard controls.
That’s where the term the hierarchy of controls comes into play, as you’ll learn below.
What Is the Hierarchy of Controls?
The idea behind the hierarchy of controls is that you should attempt the controls in order from top to bottom. That means trying elimination first, then substitution, then engineering controls, administration controls, work practice controls, and only then PPE.
Notes: We’ve “collapsed” work practice controls into the administrative controls category here, but don’t forget about it. Also, the hierarchy has traditionally been represented visually as shown below, with the small end of the pyramid pointed up, but many people are now “flipping it” so the broad end of the pyramid is at the top, which makes sense.
The Controls Are Ordered Top to Bottom to Match Their Effectiveness, Most to Least
The controls are listed from most effective (at the top) to least effective (at the bottom).
Think of it, at the top, you’ve got elimination. You can’t do much better than eliminate the hazard, right? And at the bottom, you’ve got PPE, meaning the worker is still working in the presence of the full hazard, and only proper use of the PPE (and its proper operation) stands between the worker and some form of harm.
PPE is at the bottom of the pyramid because it’s the least effective and should only be used as a last resort. Don’t use PPE as the first option–try all other controls first.
Using More than One Control to Control a Hazard
In many cases, you’ll find one type of control won’t be enough. In those cases, use multiple types–like an engineering control and PPE, for example.
Use PPE ONLY as a Last Resort
We said it earlier, but it bears repeating. Only turn to PPE as a last resort. And remember to provide proper PPE training to workers who will use it.
For example, if a worker is going to work with a respirator, you’d want to provide a range of respiratory training materials, including something like this online respirator training course.
What to Train Employees about the Hierarchy of Controls
Always provide training to workers about the hierarchy of controls and how to use it. In particular, make sure they know that personal protective equipment, or PPE, is always to be used as the control of last resort.
More Information on the Hierarchy of Controls
For more on the hierarchy of controls, here’s:
- A nice OSHA page on hazard controls
- An OSHA website on the hierarchy of controls
- A CDC/NIOSH website on the hierarchy of controls
- Our article on the Hierarchy of Controls
Manufacturing Safety Training Tips: The Next Step of the Manufacturing Safety Effort
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of safety and health management, hazard identification and job hazard analyses, and the hierarchy of control, let’s now move on to safety and health training. Remember that training is part of the hierarchy–it’s an administrative control.
Six Steps for Effective Manufacturing Safety Training
You can roll out effective manufacturing safety training using six steps, as shown in the illustration below.
Looking at the image above, notice:
- It’s a never-ending cycle. Safety training never ends.
- The last phase is continuous improvement. So you don’t just keep doing the same thing over and over. You keep doing it to make it better.
So let’s look at six steps to follow for effective safety training in more detail.
Step 1: Designing Effective Safety Training
Like anything, safety training is better if you’ve got a plan for it first. That’s what “designing” is all about.
- Performing a training needs analysis
- Identifying the safety or business metrics to measure effectiveness of safety training
- Performing a task analysis
- Determining the learning objectives
- Performing a learner analysis
- Selecting delivery method(s)
- Additional considerations
Let’s learn a little more about each.
Training Needs Analysis
During a training needs analysis, you determine what is the problem the training is supposed to fix and if safety training is really the best solution.
Sometimes, you’ll find safety training isn’t the way to go. Maybe a better control, like elimination or an engineering control, would be better. In that case, don’t train.
But in some cases, you’ll determine that safety training is called for. If so, proceed.
Identify Your Metrics for Safety Training Success
What is the goal of your safety training? Are you trying to reduce a specific injury, for example? What will you measure after the training to confirm that it worked and maybe even show the bosses?
Identify the metric(s) now and begin measure for before/after comparisons.
This is very similar to what was described in the JHA.
If you’re teaching workers a process, begin by breaking down the process into smaller steps and determining the proper sequence.
This process is known as the task analysis.
The next step of designing safety training is to determine your learning objective (or objectives). Learning objectives are basically the be-all and end-all of training.
What do you want the workers to be able to do when the safety training is over? That’s what a learning objective is.
Once you’ve got these, you’ll create training to match, you’ll create tests/assessments to match, and you’ll later observe workers in the field to see if they’re doing it.
Read more about learning objectives and download a free guide here.
Learn more about the employees to determine what will make the safety training more effective.
- Their current ability to satisfy the learning objective
- Their work schedule and availability for training
- Languages they speak, understand when heard, and/or read
- Cultural group/ethnicity
- Learning preferences (one-on-one training; instructor-led classroom style training; group collaboration; written; self-guided online learning; etc.)
- What exactly might be hindering their current ability to perform the learning objective
Safety Training Delivery Method
Now consider the type of training you’ll deliver: instructor-led, field-based, informal job mentoring, online, written, social, etc.
Many learning and development experts recommend a blended learning solution for safety training. That means mixing and matching and combining.
In addition to the blended learning article linked in the sentence above, you may also enjoy this free Blended Learning Beginner’s Guide.
And finally, you may want to read this interview with noted learning professional Dr. Will Thalheimer as he discusses research findings on the effectiveness of instructor-led training, eLearning, and blends of both.
This stuff may seem less exciting, but it’s still important. Remember to think about:
- Availability of classroom space
- Ability to deliver and complete training online
- Other logistical and infrastructure issues
Click to read more about designing and developing effective safety training.
Step 2: Developing Effective Safety Training
Once you’ve planned out, or designed your safety training, it’s time to develop it.
Below are some tips for you.
Sources of Training Content
Get your information from reliable, credible sources. Don’t just do a Google search and copy the first stuff you find.
Here are some good places to look:
- Safety and health regulatory agencies, including OSHA, MSHA, EPA, DOT, and others
- Government safety agencies, such as the Chemical Safety Board (CSB)
- Safety and health professional organizations, including the ASSE and NSC and BCSP
- Safety and health journals, including Journal of Safety Research
- Accepted scientific knowledge
- Subject matter experts (SMEs), including engineers and similar staff in your organization, consultants, and other experts
- Manufacturers, including information on safety data sheets and equipment manuals
- Employees, who often know their work areas, job tasks and associated safety and health hazards and controls better than anyone else
Match Safety Training Content to Learning Objectives
We mentioned this earlier, but make sure your training material provides all the information necessary for employees to learn to satisfy the learning objectives.
On the flip-side, remove any materials that don’t contribute to that.
To learn more about this, read our series of articles on how people learn (and don’t learn).
Adult Learning Principles
- Are self-directed
- Bring a lifetime of knowledge and experience to training
- Are goal-oriented
- Want training that’s relevant and task-oriented
- Learn when motivated to do so
- Like to be and feel respected
Develop safety training with these in mind, and you’ll find it’s more effective. Ignore these, and you’re paddling against the current.
Click to read more about adult learning principles and how to apply them for safety training.
Keep It Short
Although it’s an amazing organ, it’s also true that the human brain acts as a limit to the amount of information we can process and store at any one time.
Give people too much new information at once, and they’ll forget it all. Very quickly.
So, strip your training down to the bare essentials. Just the basics.
Break your training down into smaller parts. This will improve how well employees can remember it.
For more on this, read our extended article about chunking training, including many chunking techniques, and our demonstrations of chunking for safety training and chunking for mining safety training.
Use Language Your Employees Speak, Read, and Understand
When writing text for training, use simple, conversational, non-formal language that is similar to the language the workers use when talking.
- Formal, academic language
- Long, complex sentences
You may also have to consider issues related to a multi-language workforce.
You can do this in a variety of ways. One way is to have interpreters deliver the training into a different language. Another way to address this is to provide the same training in multiple languages. For example, the multi-language online safety and health course shown below allows the employee to select the language they understand best.
Use Visuals In Your Safety Training
People learn more if training materials appeal to their ability to process both language and images at the same time.
So be sure to develop safety training materials that include visuals, as demonstrated in this sample video from an online Crystalline Silica Awareness training course.
Here are some pro-tips on creating visuals for safety training:
- 25 Graphic Design Tips for Training Visuals
- Better Safety Training with Visuals for New Employees
- Creating Graphics for Training
Awaken Prior Knowledge Related to the Safety Topic At Beginning of Training
People learn new information better when they can integrate it with similar, or related, information that already exists in their memory.
As a result, add something to the beginning of your training that makes the employees recall what they may already know about the topic you’re about to cover.
To learn more about this, read this article about Robert Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction.
Use Metaphors, Similes, Analogies, and Other Forms of Comparison and Contrast
This is related to the point we just made about awakening prior knowledge.
When introducing new information to people, try to use metaphors, similes, analogies, and other forms of comparison and contrast to things they already know.
Read more about the use of metaphors, similes, and analogies in training.
People are hardwired to listen to and enjoy stories. And research proves they remember information better if it’s from a story.
So, try to find ways to use stories during your safety training.
Have Employees Practice/Make Decisions and See Consequences
All effective training should include feedback to help the learner judge if they understand the relevant knowledge or have mastered the relevant skill.
For knowledge-based or awareness training, that can be verbal.
For skill-based training, you’ll want the worker to perform the skill and see the results of their performance. Did it work? Did it fail?
Hands-on training is a great way to do this. Scenario-based online safety training as described in this video can help, too.
Read more about scenario-based eLearning courses here.
Provide Refresher Training
People forget one-and-one training. If you’re doing safety training once a year, you can do better.
Consider instead continually introducing safety training over weeks and months, reinforcing the previous training. And that brings us to the importance of refresher training and something called spaced practice (which basically means giving employees repeated chances over time to practice new skills).
Have Employees Think About Their Own Learning
Effective learners analyze how well they’re learning a new topic. Ineffective learners don’t have this skill.
To help people learn from your safety training, build in prompts that ask them to judge how well they understand what the training is trying to convey.
This process of thinking about what you’re learning and how well you’re learning is part of what is known as metacognition. Read more about it at the link you just passed.
We’ve covered a lot of tips for developing effective safety training, but here are a few other things to keep in mind, too:
- Training materials for employees
- Training materials for instructors
- Trainer qualifications
- Training location
- Training schedule
- Training completion requirements
- Training evaluation strategy
- Strategy for continuous improvement of safety training
Resources for Further Research on Developing Effective Safety Training
You could do much worse than read the amazing, classic book by Julie Dirksen titled Design for How People Learn.
For even more information, click to read more about designing and developing effective safety training.
Step 3: Delivering Effective Safety Training
Let’s consider some aspects of delivering the training now.
General Considerations for Delivering Safety Training
Safety training, like all training, has to be designed to match the learning needs of the learners. That’s what people mean when they talk about learner-centric training.
If you aren’t creating learner-centric training, your training is failing. No ifs, ands, or buts.
But what is learner-centric training, more specifically? A lot of things, but you can start with that list of adult learning principles we introduced earlier.
Or read up on our series of articles on how people learn.
Blended Safety Training
You shouldn’t deliver all your safety training in the same delivery method–for example, all instructor-led training, or all field-based training, or all online training.
Instead, you should mix and match these safety training delivery methods to create a blended learning solution.
Face-to-Face Trainers and Effective Safety Training Delivery
Be engaging, be conservational, and be interactive. Make training a two-way conversation.
Don’t lecture or deliver a monologue. Avoid:
- Being sage on the stage
- Spray-and-pray training
- Information dumps
These aren’t effective learning opportunities, and people don’t learn this way.
A train-the-trainer course might be a good idea.
But remember, simply being a clown up there won’t make your training effective either. Everyone can laugh and giggle and have a great time through your training, but that doesn’t mean they’ve learned.
Online and Virtual Safety Training Delivery
Online training is best when it’s relevant, engaging, and interactive.
Another thing to look for in online safety training courses is the effective use of visuals, as demonstrated in the short video below.
Avoid passive, boring online safety training.
Mobile Safety Training
The times have changed. Actually, they changed quite some time ago.
Your safety training should include some form of mobile training.
Mobile makes it easier for workers to train on their own schedule, and easier to pull up information where it’s needed-in the field.
Learn more about mobile apps for safety training here, and/or check out the following articles:
Step 4: Evaluating Safety Training to Determine if It Was Effective
So you’ve delivered the safety training. Kudos!
But was it any good? Did it work?
The standard way to determine that is the Kirkpatrick Training Evaluation model. The Kirkpatrick model includes four levels, which we’ll describe below.
Level 1: Employee Reactions to Safety Training (“Smile Sheets”)
Those evaluation sheets you hand out at the end of training to get the workers’ opinions are sometimes known as “smile sheets.” This is level one of the Kirkpatrick model.
These have some value, but they’re often written poorly. Here are some tips for writing better ones:
- Include open-ended questions that allow workers to share their opinions in words instead of just selecting a survey option (you’ll often get the most useful information this way)
- Avoid questions about whether or not the employees “liked” the training or the trainer (studies show there’s almost no connection between “liking” the training or trainer and the amount of true learning that occurred)
- Write questions that ask how well the training prepared the worker to safely perform the job in he field
- Avoid answer options that are similar numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and/or are based on agreement (strongly disagree, somewhat disagree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat agree, strongly agree)
- Include answer options that include specific phrasing about whether or not the training prepared the worker to safely perform a job task
- Write questions and answer options that, when reviewed by a trainer after the data is collected, will provide solid, concrete information about whether or not the training was effective and, if it wasn’t effective, how it can be improved
Click the link to read our more detailed article about how to write better level-1 evaluations/smile sheets and/or read our interview with Dr. Will Thalheimer on smile sheets.
Level 2: Tests and Other Assessments of Employee Learning After Training
The second level of evaluation is a test after training.
This may be a knowledge or awareness test, or a skill demonstration.
For simple knowledge/awareness tests, an LMS with built-in content creation capabilities can be very helpful.
If skill demonstrations and evaluations are required, especially in the field, you may benefit from mobile learning apps.
For more on testing, check the following articles:
- Workplace Tests
- Reliable and Valid Tests
- Tests and Fidelity
- Multiple-Choice Test Questions
- “Other” Test Questions
Level 3: Observations of On-the-Job Safe Work Practices
You can’t stop at tests, though. People often do well on tests 10 minutes after a training and forget almost everything by the next day.
So after the training is over, you’re want to watch the workers in the field and and see if the training is “sticking.”
By that, we mean observe if the employees are working safely as they learned in the safety training.
If they are, great. Give them some recognition, thank them, and tell them to keep on practice the safe work habits.
If they’re not, that’s not great. But doesn’t immediately assume the problem is with the workers or even the training. Ask questions and investigate–there may be other things going on.
Of course, if it IS clear there’s a training problem, you’ll want to remedy that. That may be as simple as a simple verbal reminder or some refresher training. Or maybe you’ll have to go back and modify the original training.
Level 4: Effect on Key Workplace Safety Metrics (and Other Business KPIs)
Earlier, you identified the key metrics that would help you determine if your training was effective or not. And you made a “before” measurement.
After the training is over, go back and check those same metrics again. Here’s where you’ll find if the training was effective.
Resources for Further Research on Evaluating Effective Safety Training
- Safety Metrics & Leading Indicators
- Safety Metrics and Leading and Lagging Indicators
- Training-Related Safety Metrics
- Click to read a more detailed explanation of evaluating effective safety training.
- Click to read an alternative to this standard Kirkpatrick training evaluation model (Dr. Will Thalhiemer’s new L-TEM Model of Training Evaluation)
Step 5: Keeping Records and Documentation of Safety Training
Keep records of your safety training.
This includes records of the process of creating the training and delivering the training. Or the employees who took the training and how they did on their assessments. And of your own evaluations of the training, plus any revision and/or continuous improvement efforts.
Resources for Further Research on Recordkeeping and Documentation for Effective Safety Training
Click to read more about recordkeeping and documentation for effective safety training.
Step 6: Continuous Improvement of Safety Training
Your training will never be “done.”
Keep looking at those evaluations, at changes in the workplace, and other factors, and continue to revise and improve the safety training over time.
Summary: Manufacturing Safety Training Done Right
Well, we hope you enjoyed reading this article on manufacturing safety training tips even half as much as we enjoyed writing it! If so, then we’re happy about that as well.
For even more on manufacturing safety, try any of these articles:
- 5 Manufacturing Safety Tips
- 10 Daily Workplace Safety Tips in Manufacturing
- Improving Workplace Safety With Lean Manufacturing
- What Is Safety Differently?
- 9 Things to Know about Human & Organizational Performance (HOP)
- Tips for Effective Safety Training: Recorded , On-Demand Webinar (Free)
- Effective Safety Training: Free Guide
- 15 Tips for Effective Safety Training
- Learning Teams for Improving Safety
Before you leave, know that we’ve got a free, 60-page guide to effective Environmental, Health, and Safety Training for you below. Click and download, it’s all yours.
And remember there are links way UP there at the top of the article for downloading a lot of other free guides too.
You might also want to check out our libraries of online safety training courses and online manufacturing training courses. They’re ready-made and available for instant licensing or viewing, and are available in streaming formats, USB, as well as SCORM and AICC for importing into a learning management system (LMS).
Effective EHS Training: A Step-by-Step Guide
Learn how to design, create, deliver, and evaluate effective EHS training by following these best practices with our free step-by-step guide.