Workplace safety programmes provide your workforce the necessary know-how, awareness, and skills to enable them to achieve their work goals with safety. Not only do they ensure that employees are safe, workplace safety training is also important to maintain your organisation’s reputation and ensure business continuity.
Some of the most common workplace safety training programmes cover topics such as: how to handle critical or hazardous equipment or materials safely; how to avoid physical injuries arising from technical or human error; how to deal with harassment or abuse, whether offline or online, and so on.
The basic principle of building any effective workplace safety training programme is that it should be well rounded to cover all operations of the organisation. It must also have the buy-in of all the relevant stakeholders – such as the leadership, employees, vendors, HR, etc.
Getting Started With Designing the Workplace Safety Training Programme
Engage your Employees
It is very important to engage the workforce while designing an employee safety training programme. Workplace culture and common industry risks are important parameters to consider while defining the employee training. Thus, HR leaders must engage the employees to understand the issues and risks employees face in relation to their respective work profiles. This also implies that HR must encourage employees to be involved with the safety training programme delivery as well.
Set up an expert committee
An expert core team led by HR must be set up to build a workplace safety training programme. This team will provide oversight to the design, roll out and implementation of the training.
Steps for setting up the Workplace Safety Training Programme
As a team leader, if you are looking forward to setting up a workplace safety training programme in your organisation, follow these steps:
Define business requirements
Begin by defining the business needs for safety and health, the key hazards to workplace safety, and the core objectives of the programme. It is important to consider the standard risks and industry-known hazards.
Include your employees/workforce
Employees are an integral part of workforce health and safety training programmes and must be closely involved in designing and rolling them out. Managers and supervisors can help in envisaging the priorities of health and safety and what it takes to make the programme look successful.
Define a role matrix
A role matrix is must to understand how the employee safety training programme applies at all levels, including leaders, managers, administrators, supervisors, and workers. The training programme must be modulated for each role keeping in mind the regulations applicable at that level. For example, the approver of a health and safety compliance requirement will have a different training requirement than the worker.
Set up a training programme testing process
Each of the role-based modulated employee safety programme versions needs to be tested to make sure all process checks, safety requirements and compliance regulations are successfully met.
Set up a communication and feedback model
Define the communication channels for the employee safety programme and include all relevant details in the training so that workers and supervisors know whom to contact if an accident, emergency, or slippage occurs.
Delivering an Employee Training Safety Programme in Phases
Workforce health and safety is foundational to organisations. With the increasing hybrid scenario during the Covid times, companies need to plan how to both ramp up their workforce and sustain safe operations over time. Failure to comprehensively plan puts communities at risk of future outbreaks, liability claims, workforce dissatisfaction and overall disruption to business continuity.
To define an effective workplace safety training programme, a phase-wise approach must be followed by the programme leaders and training delivery groups. At a high level, it is recommended to have the following phases -
- Define Phase: The Define Phase defines the overall programme priorities considering regulatory requirements, strategic imperatives, contractual scope, and business priorities. Organisations need to have a programme plan or roadmap and validation strategy to provide the leadership with a holistic view of all recommendations and initiatives for ensuring workforce safety.
- Track Phase: The Track Phase including the ongoing monitoring, coordination and reporting of the training initiatives’ delivery, including regular checkpoints analysing progress, issues and risks based on timeframes, deliverables and/or milestones. The track phase for the training programme must focus on timelines and quality.
- Corroborate Phase: The Validate Phase is the final quality check to evaluate if the training initiatives or programme thoroughly realised goals in a timely and effective manner. This phase involves seeking active feedback from all levels on the workforce safety programme.
The ‘Crucial Four’ that Define the Success of Employee Safety Training Programmes
A successful workforce safety training programme needs to be based on the following crucial goals.
- Plan Workforce Strategies
Planning for workforce safety training includes analysing the workforce mix (e.g., full time, part time, on-call, contractors, etc.), to determine the requirements around scheduling and capacity, cost implications and training programme design requirements.
2. Update Policies and Procedures
Monitor the latest health and safety guidance and regulations from state and local agencies to assess and refine the safety standards and update the policies and procedures to support latest guidance. The training programme must include the creation of certification and audit procedures for compliance.
The training programme must prioritise providing a realistic/more human experience for safety risks and situations that employees may encounter. For example, in case of social engineering attack, the training programme must include some tabletop exercises and real-time scenarios where employees can test their decision-making skills via cyber wargaming. The training team must understand the pulse of the workforce to understand fears, needs, and challenges related to employee safety.
3. Establish mechanism(s) to regularly track and monitor employee safety and health
Different industries have different mechanisms to monitor H&S. Examples include Internet of Things (IOT) wearable devices, daily health checks, or clearance protocols to assess workers’ ability to safely return to physical work locations after getting the Covid-19 vaccine.
4. Manage risks and costs related to workforce
Identify areas of the workforce likely to submit workers compensation claims because of top risks of workplace safety. Assess impacts of health and safety-related decisions and investments on the bottom line and optimise your workforce safety spends.
Did you find the above tips for workplace safety training useful? If so, keep reading the Manah Wellness blog!