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Top Five Tips for Improving Safety Training

— by Ian Stewart

Employee trainingLearning development

Mandatory safety training programs run the gamut, from repulsive (remember Red Asphalt in Drivers’ Ed?) to funny, to boring. But more often than not, it’s the latter.

But they needn’t — and shouldn’t — be that way. After all, we’re talking about workers’ safety, right? What could be more important? The fact is, though,

that most workers simply assume they’ll never end up in harm’s way. (NPR did a great series last year about table saw that won’t cut your fingers off — people wouldn’t buy it, though, because they never thought they’d need it.)

It’s important, then, that trainers make the stakes clear. That means designing smart, useful, and snappy safety training programs that get and hold employees’ attention. Here are five of our smartest takes on it (no Red Asphalt included, I promise.)

The Crucial Role of Simulating the Consequences

This may sound drastic, but for a moment, consider it: What if in safety training, you made all participants sit in front of a video camera and record a “last message” to their families, in case they die on the job for not adhering to safety procedures. Brutal, right? It may be, but it also emphasizes that safety training isn’t just some box to tick off — it’s important, and potentially really consequential, stuff. You can be sure your workers will perk their ears up, anyway.

Three Ways to Make Mandatory Training More Effective

How can you be sure to turn off employees? Tell them they have mandatory training. But the fact is that some of this stuff is mandatory — how then to get people to actually listen? It’s all in how you design — and present — it. Are you making this training session relevant to people’s actual jobs, or are you just repeating some pre-canned seminar on safety training? Keep it grounded, and never, ever, be boring.

The Unofficial Office Training Guide: How to Detect, Eliminate Office Hazards

Office cubicle … or death trap? Use this handy infographic to spot potentially dangerous workplace conditions — whether it’s that rat’s nest of loose cables under your desk, or the overloaded electrical socket pumping out 5,000 jules. Funny, and informative. And maybe life-saving.

Seven Training Videos That Hurt to Watch

In short, you’re not Scorsese. So hire a pro to design that training video for you. Don’t believe me? Watch these cringe-inducing homemade training videos, and then get back to me.

Online Safety Training for OSHA Compliance

OK, enough with the funny stuff. If you want some actual ideas about creating safety training, here are some simple tips. For instance, consider “refresher” training occasionally if your staff starts slipping up.

Related: Top Five Tips for Sales Training.

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