When to Train

There are appropriate times when safety and health training should be provided. They are when

  • • A worker lacks the safety skills
  • • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation requires or mandates training
  • • An employee is promoted to supervisor
  • • A new employee is hired
  • • An employee is transferred to another job or task
  • • New equipment, machinery, or vehicles are brought into the workplace
  • • Changes have been made in the normal operating procedures
  • • A worker has not performed a task for some period of time
  • • It is required by OSH regulations

If a worker could not perform the task of his/her job safely if his/her life depended upon it, then training would provide the skills for him/her to do so. Thus, if a worker could safely perform his/her job if it were a matter of life or death, then the worker has a behavioral problem and not a skill issue.

Safety and health training is critical to achieving accident prevention. Companies that do not provide new-hire training, supervisory training, and worker safety and health training have an appreciably greater number of injuries and illnesses than companies who carry out safety and health training

It has been show by studies that failing to train new hires results in 52% more accidents. When no outside source for training is available, it results in 59% more accidents. The failure to adequately train supervisors results in 62% more accidents. According to a Nebraska Safety Council 1981 study comparing companies that did training with those that did not, these figures further support why training should be an integral part of any OSH imitative.

Why do employers need a training program for safety and health, and what does it entail? Before beginning an education and training program, make sure that training is needed by performing either a needs assessment or a cost-benefit analysis to determine if training will make a difference considering the dollars invested.

The reasons why the training should be an organized approach are not only the investment in dollars or cost, but also, if specific learning outcomes do not exist, then training would be a waste of resources, including time and loss of production. Also, learning objectives that mirror learning and performance expectations regarding OSH are an integral part any safety and health program.

OSH training can be used to address specific hazards within the employer's workplaces and structure the presentation of training materials that will best accomplish the goals of the employer and the training needs of the workforce. This may include classroom training, use of experts, use of qualified supervisors or employees, job instruction training (JIT), or on-the-job training (OJT).

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