Safety training is not necessarily the most pleasurable activity, but it is important and there’s no way around that fact. So, much like we tend to disguise our pets’ medication by hiding it in a treat, safety training can be made more palatable by adding a hint of creativity to the mix.
In 2006, Burke et al.’s research, a sample of 20991 health and safety trainees were exposed to three different types of training conditions involving varying degrees of learner participation: 1) least engaging (lecture, pamphlets, videos), 2) moderately engaging (programmed instruction, feedback interventions), and 3) most engaging (training in behavioral modeling, hands-on training). Their findings revealed that, although all training methods had a positive impact on workers’ knowledge and application in the workplace, the most effective training methods were the ones that involved active participant engagement (condition 3). Greater participation during safety training resulted in improved knowledge acquisition, as well as markedly reduced accidents, illnesses, and injuries after the fact.
Although e-learning is one of the most effective ways to reach and teach a widely dispersed workforce, a combination of online training with physical interaction may be particularly effective; especially for safety training where workers could use the opportunity to voice their safety concerns or learn through physically engaging with certain safety scenarios to foster a first-hand understanding of dealing with them.
These next three ideas provide some guidance to make the most of your next online safety training session:
1.Make it fun with games, competitions, and rewards – The learning experience, specifically when it comes to topics that are usually viewed as dull, can be enhanced by incorporating games and competitions related to the safety topic at hand, with rewards for top performers. Rewards do not have to be expensive but should reflect something your employees would want, such as a coupon to add a couple of extra minutes to their lunch break one afternoon. Importantly, playing games does not have to mean being childish, and could even double as a team building exercise; for example, participating in a safety training scavenger hunt that tests employees’ knowledge of the workplace, equipment and safety procedures where each correct find gets rewarded with a token, and the team with the most tokens receives a prize.
2.Incorporate humor – Although humor should be used sparingly and appropriately as to not detract from the seriousness of safety training, nothing beats a good laugh. Humorous imagery or video clips of how things could go wrong, work well to break the ice and teach employees the right way of doing things in a manner they might remember more clearly than if they were listening to a talk on workplace safety statistics. Humorous imagery and video clips are easily accessible through an internet search engine or via YouTube.
3.Integrate role-playing activities or safety skits – Once a portion of safety training has been completed, employees could be asked to work together to produce and perform a short skit, either live or via a video recording. This is an effective way of getting employees to think about how they should react to potential scenarios that pose a risk to their safety without being placed in harm’s way, and of reinforcing what they have learned during their training. It may even be handy to keep the best video clips for future training purposes. Think about some of the most important topics your employees should know when it comes to health and safety in your organization and from there, devise some scenarios for them to work on.
The key to workplace safety training success is to ensure that trainees are both physically and mentally engaged, either by being active participants in the learning process or through receiving learning inputs that are more likely to result in information retention. Coggno has added 97 new SafeWorkday safety training courses to their growing library – check them out here, select the ones that you need, and get creative!