4 Things You Can Do to Make Sure Your Workers “Get It”

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: April 10th, 2012
Topics: Safety Training |

OSHA requires not just providing but ensuring the effectiveness of their safety training. How should employers document the effectiveness of their training programs? Here are 4 suggestions:

1. Post-Training Quiz: Have workers take a quiz after the training session to test their understanding. Workers who don’t score a certain percentage should get additional training. Repeat the quiz a few weeks or months later to ensure that workers retain what they were taught.

2. Participant Demonstrations: After you explain the right way to perform a job, get the worker to show you how to perform it. For example, watch whether forklift operators are stacking pallets the right way and driving safely. “Simply asking the worker whether he understands what you told him isn’t enough,” says a safety consultant from Syracuse, NY. “A lot of times, workers will tell you that they understood what you said even if they didn’t, either because they don’t want to seem dumb or because they want to get training over with.” But with a demonstration workers can’t hide what they did and didn’t absorb. Actual performance of the technique is also a pedagogical device. “Demonstrating the technique shows the worker how to perform it better than anything else,” notes the Syracuse expert.

3. Post-Training Evaluation: You should have some form of evaluation to get worker feedback on the training. There are lots of different techniques – interviews, questionnaires, focus groups and even informal chats. One expert says she requires workers to fill out a Comprehension & Understanding form.

4. Post-Training Observation: The only sure way to determine if training is effective is to observe what the workers do when they get back to the jobsite, according to one consultant. For example, if you’re training on lockout/tagout and 3 days later you observe workers locking out their machines before cleaning, it’s a sign that they remembered something from the training program you just held. If you see them doing the same thing 3 months later, it’s a sign that your training was effective.

Conclusion: Keep Form Documenting Verification Methods

Keep documentation of the methods they used to verify that workers understood their training program. To meet this requirement, prepare a form for each worker that lists the methods that you used to make sure your safety message sunk in. Be sure that your form describes:

  • The training subject for which worker understanding was verified;
  • The method of verification;
  • The date that the verification took place; and
  • Whether additional training is necessary and if so, the date on which such training was provided.

Keep the form in each employee’s personnel or training file and update it every time you provide additional training or re-test a worker.