5 Insights into Workplace Safety Training
Five Tips for Safety Awareness and Safety Training
1) Remember, there’s always room for improvement.
How safe is your workplace? It’s an enormously important question to consider because every safety violation matters. Consider this: as good as getting things right 99.9 percent of the time is...if 99.9% were the acceptable standard of excellence, then...
- 1-2 domestic airline flights per hour could land unsafely.
- 14,000 U.S. theme park rides could malfunction over the next three days.
- Nearly 11,000 prescriptions could be filled improperly today alone.
As you can see, even a tiny margin of error can have devastating repercussions. So, no matter how much you pride yourself on your company’s stellar safety record, it’s important to strive constantly for improvement.* Many businesses, though, make the mistake of assuming that it’s as simple as presenting a mandatory safety training video or seminar. While these types of tools are enormously useful, they don’t paint a complete picture. Workplace safety encompasses much more than simply avoiding restricted areas and memorizing an emergency evacuation procedure. It pertains to every aspect of workplace training and protocol.
*For more on this topic, please see the best-selling Media Partners meeting opener video, Is “Good” Enough?
2) Don’t Overlook the Relationship between Workplace Safety and Stress Management
Consider the ways in which stress can impact workplace safety. According to a 2017 report from the American Psychological Association, 61 percent of Americans consider work a significant source of stress.
This is hugely problematic as the Harvard Business Review notes that between 60 and 80 percent of workplace accidents are attributed to stress. Rampant stress results in diminished clarity, a lessened ability to concentrate on the task at hand, and an increased likelihood of injury.
By allocating specialized training and resources to stress management, employers can reduce stress in the workplace and consequently reduce the number of workplace injuries. Catering to the company’s collective mental health is integral to ensuring a safe and productive environment.
3) Address the All-Too-Real Issue of Workplace Violence
Workplace violence is a growing problem in America. The U.S. Department of Labor defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” The department notes that nearly 2 million people report being victims of workplace violence each year, and many more acts go unreported. In addition, homicides accounted for 10 percent of all fatal occupational injuries in the United States in 2016.
Additionally, there were 2.9 million nonfatal workplace accidents reported in the U.S. private sector in 2016, and workplace violence remains the fourth-leading cause of workplace injury.
Organizational employees and managers alike benefit from workplace violence training. Everyone in the organization should understand the warning signs and feel comfortable speaking up if they experience intimidation or see behaviors that might lead to acts of violence.
4) Never Stop Shedding Light on the Most Common Causes of Workplace Injury
We’ve addressed workplace violence (which is #4 out of the 5 most common causes of workplace injury),but what other potential safety pitfalls should you look out for? Here are the remaining the top five causes, according to a 2016 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Overexertion and bodily reaction: Typically related to lifting and lowering heavy objects.
- Falls, slips, trips: These may result from slick or wet floors or from the use of improper footwear.
- Being struck by heavy objects or equipment: This type of injury is especially prevalent in the construction industry.
- Transportation incidents: Including commercial truck accidents and other transportation-related incidents.
There are many excellent training videos on these safety issues--many customized to a specific type of workplace. Any organization’s safety curriculum should consider the types of injuries and accidents most likely to occur there and emphasize specific protocols for preventing those injuries.
5) Make Sure Your Training Fits the Modern Learner
Today’s employees share many preferences when it comes to how they learn. They want their learning to be timely and relevant. They appreciate flexibility, just-in-time access to information, collaborative settings, interactive e-learning, and accessibility to training via a mobile device. Learning suppliers like Media Partners offer safety training and workplace violence prevention training in a variety of forms. Ask for help finding the solutions that are just right for your team.
Another important device to incorporate into your safety training is the power of storytelling. When people hear others’ real-life experiences of injury (or the loss) due to a workplace accident, hypothetical safety issues become much more real and tangible. For example, if you want to train a fleet of commercial drivers to recognize the dangers of distracted driving, you may not make much of an impact by simply parroting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration accident data. The sharing of real-life experiences involving accidents is much more likely to sink in on an emotional level. In fact, Harvard Business Review notes that storytelling offers the following benefits to learners:
- It creates a connection
- It builds engagement
- It aligns with a greater purpose
- It enables retrieval
- It allows for risk-free experimentation
- It promotes growth and a healthy exchange of ideas
Here's an example of a training video that uses a real world story to show how contingency and safety planning/training saved lives: Teamwork in Crisis: The Miracle of Flight 232.
The Benefits Speak for Themselves
When you make ongoing, effective safety training a priority, your business benefits in numerous ways:
- You can reduce sick days and workplace injuries --which currently cost U.S. employers over $225 billion every year.
- You can reduce worker’s compensation claims. According to one Stanford study, the indirect costs of a workers’ compensation claim can actually exceed the direct costs, and these costs (such as wages not covered by workers’ comp, overtime to other employees, and lost productivity) aren’t covered by insurance.
- Companies with effective safety training programs reduce their injury- and illness-related costs by as much as 40 percent.
Safety training and education must always be a the top of an organization's priorities. We encourage you to explore our safety training and workplace violence solutions.