Health and safety training gives workers the knowledge to recognize the hazards they face and do their jobs safely. It also helps employers fulfil their duty to protect worker health and safety.
The first question an incident investigator will always ask is “did the employee receive adequate safety training to do the job?” Always to be followed by, “are employees receiving the legally required safety training for the industry/jurisdiction/hazards?”
What does “adequate training” look like?
- Understands the needs of your employees.
Who is being trained? What are the hazards the role encounters? What are the hazards of the Industry? Is the information required broad and general or specific? You need to tailor your training to your company’s needs and your employees’ prior knowledge.
- Be applicable and relevant.
While some workplace safety trainings are required by law, some may not apply to all employees, your training needs to be relevant to the work the employee will and may be doing as well as relevant and timely. In other words, you can’t keep using that 80s VHS tape and expect it to be effective.
- Do you hold everyone accountable?
From the C-suite down, all employees need to be held accountable to the same safety standards. Modeling safety from the top sets the tone for the company.
- Is it mobile and adaptive?
Your employees have so many conflicting priorities that your training needs to be adaptative to new learning methodologies. Is it mobile? Is it agile? Does it consider different learning behaviors? the old one size fits all perspective isn’t effective for the masses, and costs you so much more in time and money with retraining. What’s more, attendance sheet sign offs are not a due diligence defence in either an investigation or civil law suit.
What is the legally required safety training?
What is legally required varies depending on your industry, jurisdiction, and the type of work being done.
It can be confusing to ensure you are compliant and doing the right training.
The standards stipulate which hazards require training, who should be trained, how often, the required qualifications of the person/software providing the training, and requirements for training documentation. That being said, it can be summed up as follows:
- Training must be performed as often as required for safe operations.
- Each employee must be trained in the tasks, situations, and tools they will use on the job.
- This training must be provided by a qualified person in a manner (e.g. language and vocabulary) the employee best understands.
- Training must be documented and stored for a period of time.
Some tasks don’t require annual training, but they do require periodic training (when workplace changes (new tasks, equipment, procedures, etc.) expose the employee to new hazards; and/or, when employee performance suggests that the prior training was incomplete or not fully understood).
Because “required training” is different for your industry, jurisdiction, and the type of work being done, we’ve tried to simplify things for you by producing a simple reference chart you can download, print, and reference to ensure your compliance.
Your “adequate” employee safety training absolutely needs to result in the employee having the ability and skills required to do their job productively, efficiently, and safely.
How do regulators like OSHA and others define adequate training?
- Contains a Training Plan that outlines the program’s curriculum development, instructor training, course materials, applications, resources, etc.
- Provides facilities and resources to conduct effective training
- provides employees with the basic ability and skills necessary to do the job
- Includes organizational and administrative support for the training program
Nobody wants to have an accident or incident in the workplace, but if you do, are you prepared to answer the first two questions an investigator will ask, because rest assured, if you get the first two questions wrong, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to get a “passing grade.”