Safety training techniques: how to improve

By Terry Young15 April 2008

Safety training meetings are critical to a successful safety program. Hosting meetings that are more than smoke breaks requires careful planning and analysis. Terry Young reports

Osha requires that all companies provide safety training for their employees. Some states specifically require Tailgate or Toolbox Safety meetings.

Best practice is to provide weekly safety meetings and a safety task assignment (STA), which is conducted daily before assigning an employee to any job task, new or repetitive. The employee's supervisor is responsible for giving the STA by showing and explaining the safety precautions and actions that must be taken before proceeding with the work task. The employee is responsible for understanding and following the STA.

Employees are instructed that if they do not understand or have physical limitations, they must inform their supervisor. Many companies use safety task instructions (STI), job safety analysis (JSA), or other techniques that are very similar to the safety task assignment. All are ways for the supervisor to communicate and plan the safety requirements of each work task to the employee level. The technique identifies the safety requirements of each task and communicates the information to the employee in real time right before the work task. This is the single best safety training technique your company can provide to its employees.

Written documentation of safety training with signatures of all attendees should be part of your record-keeping program. Include the date, the name of the supervisor conducting the training content, and signed form.

Weekly Tool Box Safety meetings are used to discuss important safety-related subjects that are relevant to your job. Supervisors should have everyone attend, listen and learn. Choose your topic carefully - topics should be about safety and health related to the present project. Employees must understand that safety eetings have a purpose and are not just a smoke break. A supervisor should monitor and participate in the meetings to ensure full participation and that the employees understand they are holding the meetings to prevent accidents and provide a safe working environment for all company employees.

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