When health and safety training is not engaging, it is not effective. Training facilitators should base their methods on a simple principle: If you can not make training interesting, it would not be heard, the lessons would not stick, and you would waste time and resources.
There is always more that trainers could do to make health and safety training more engaging. Centre training around the learners. No matter how important the SHEQ information is, learners have to come to the subject from their personal circle of relevance. They want to know what it means to them.
One of the ways to do this is to involve potential trainees in planning the training session. Conduct a formal training needs assessment of the trainees, workers and organisational priorities. Even an informal chat with learners before the sessions could be effective.
Encourage participation in the curriculum and structure of the learning process. Do not be the only person in the room doing the talking. Structure your sessions to allow trainees to help find solutions to their own workplace problems, rather than just telling them what to do.
Listen well, and do not get defensive about any principle, course content or teaching method, irrespective of provocation. Good trainers know that questions from the audience are important to engage the group, and they give questioners the respect they deserve.
Restate every question to ensure that everyone follows the conversation.
Here are more guidelines on making health and safety training more engaging and effective:
- Start with a bang or attention-getter
- Use a timer
- Hand out follow-up material for reading
- Provide good refreshments
- Give away candy and cheap plastic gifts
- Take a field trip or tour if possible
- Conduct safety experiments for participation
- Tell stories
- Digress slightly but remain relevant
- Get trainees physically involved
- Show relevant movie clips
- Use visual, auditory, and tactile material
- Remain available during breaks
- Ask questions rather than make statements
- Share something personal
- Review theory in the morning, and hands-on experience in the afternoon
- Practice, practice, practice
To create and maintain a healthy and safe workplace, health and safety information has to be effectively transferred to employees. Most of the required skills could be transferred through training.
Avoid wasting valuable time and money on health and safety training that does not engage and inform employees.∑