Last week we posted about “5 Minute Safety Talks to Initiate Worker Safety” and we offered tips for giving workplace safety talks, so after coming across an article that talked about safety training and how to get the message across, I thought I’d post some of the Construction Safety Network’s tips for effective adult safety training:
- Adults learn best when they are actively involved in deciding what, how, and when they learn.
- People are more likely to believe something if they arrive at the idea themselves.
- Learning doesn’t really happen until it changes habits and behavior. Knowing how to work safety involved gathering facts and learning a bit of theory but don’t just deliver a lecture. Adults will learn faster and better if you use a variety of styles and approaches to getting the message across. For example, get them thinking, talking, and coming up with their own ideas. Try describing a problem scenario and having them work in groups to find a solution. If you plan to show them how to look for hazards, try having them do their own site inspection first, then do a thorough inspection with them to show what they may have missed. Have them think of ways they can apply the concepts you teach in different settings so that they grasp the principle you are trying to get across. Applying the knowledge and working safely takes practice and the development of good habits. It requires repetition of actual work processes and ongoing attention to detail. For example, if you are providing hands-on instruction in the safe use of equipment:
- Motivate by talking about the potential consequences of operating the machine improperly, or without guards in place.
- Tell them step-by-step how to operate the machine properly.
- Show them how it is done correctly and safely.
- Test their knowledge by asking them to repeat the process. Have them repeat the process until it is done top-to-bottom with out mistakes.
- Come back two hours later to check if it is still being done correctly. Return again in two days, etc.
- Don’t forget to give people credit for getting it right. If they don’t have it right, point it out to them and encourage them to try again.