Employee training is a key process for new hires in any industry and for any employee. Regardless of a new hire’s experience and education, there are always nuances of a particular job that must be explained to new employees, company policies to be learned, and company culture to ingrain.
Depending on your industry, safety training may be one of the most—if not the most—important parts of new employee training. Aside from the general motivation to avoid injuries to employees and customers and the costs to a business of legal liability and lost productivity caused by injuries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has very specific rules, regulations, and penalties around workplace safety, and part of OSHA’s mandate to employers is to ensure sufficient training on safe workplace behavior and practices.
As noted on OSHA’s website, “Education and training are important tools for informing workers and managers about workplace hazards and controls so they can work more safely and be more productive. Another role of education and training, however, is to provide workers and managers with a greater understanding of the safety and health program itself, so that they can contribute to its development and implementation.”
OSHA recommends four basic steps for putting together an effective training and education program for employee safety:
1. Provide Program Awareness Training
From the outset, you must make sure your staff—from managers, supervisors, and workers to contractors, subs, and temps—know the basics of your safety and health program.
2. Train Employees, Managers, and Supervisors on Their Roles in the Program
Think of this as the train-the-trainer phase. Your managers and supervisors will have a key role in training your frontline employees on safe workplace conduct, and they are responsible for the safety of their employees. For this reason, it’s crucial that these senior employees are well-versed in your safety policies and procedures.
3. Train Workers on Their Specific Roles in the Safety and Health Program
Depending on their roles, different employees will have different roles and responsibilities within your safety regime. Make sure each and every employee knows what his or her roles and responsibilities are.
4. Train Workers on Hazard Identification and Controls
Identifying hazards and potential hazards is key to avoiding workplace injuries. Employees must know what dangers are present in your workplace and your industry, how to identify them, and what controls are in place to mitigate those risks.
Ensuring employee safety isn’t just the right thing to do for your workers; it’s an important element of risk mitigation as it relates to regulatory and legal liability and making sure employees are well enough to stay on the job. OSHA’s basic guidelines are a great starting point for putting together a safety program.