If you want to use training to help employees work more safely and avoid incidents, you need to analyze your training from the start to ensure that it is an appropriate and effective tool. It must be appropriate to the hazards and risks and the people that need the training.
To test whether your training has been effective, you need to conduct informative post-training analysis.
If you’re involved in developing the training program in your workplace, make sure your training is appropriate. Here are some general rules that provide a useful benchmark for testing the appropriateness of training. Training should be:
- Specific to the hazards and risks of your site and situation.
- Clearly inform employees what conditions are infractions of departmental safety rules.
- Give supervised work experience before allowing employees to perform hazardous operations on their own.
One of the most important decisions trainers make is how the content will be delivered. Here are some options:
- On-the-job learning and one-on-one discussions with employees are often most effective when combined with on-the-job skills training.
- Safety meetings can be a good setting for training when group cooperation is required. For example, during training on how to act during an emergency.
- Role-playing and using case histories are useful in group settings and might be more effective with some groups than with others.
- Lecturing is considered to be the least effective means of training. Involving employees can help make the lectures more meaningful.
- Demonstrations work best when they are interactive and encourage audience participation.
- Audiovisual presentations and computer-based programs are an effective choice for refresher training or when live demonstrations are too costly or hazardous.
- Printed materials are best used as a supplement when individuals already have a good grasp of the subject material but need additional information to fill the gaps.
A successful training program is a work in progress, and the cycle isn’t complete until you’ve evaluated the effectiveness of the training. Consider these steps for assessment:
- Ask learners what they think. Probably your best source of information about the effectiveness of the session is the employees themselves. Make anonymous evaluation forms available immediately following the session.
- Ask participants to rate the session on a scale of 1 to 5. For any response below 5, ask for an explanation of what it would take to bring it up.
- Make your own observations during the session. Think about the degree of participation, number of questions, and overall enthusiasm.
- Use pre- and post-training tests. Simple true & false pre- and post-training tests can be an effective way to determine what participants knew before and after the presentation. If practical, ask trainees to explain principles, procedures, or rules they’ve learned. Have them demonstrate skills presented to give you an idea of skill gaps you need to fill before ending the session.
- Check to see if training is being used. Keep an eye out for employee behavior. How well are workers incorporating the safety principles, skills, and knowledge into their jobs? Continue observations for several months after the training.
Evaluate the impact of training on overall Health & Safety performance:
- Is your workplace safer as a result of training efforts?
- Is your organization’s compliance program better as a result?
- Have the numbers of accidents and near misses, as well as related costs, gone down?