It is easy to say that the importance of developing an effective safety training program should not be overlooked, but how do you put a fun and therefore effective safety training program into practice? The consequences of viewing safety training simply as a task that must be completed to check a box rather than promote a high regard for the overall safety program can be significant.
Developing a robust new employee safety orientation that encompasses a safety tour of the facility and interactive sessions to demonstrate the safety policies will likely improve material retention. If new hires are forced to sit through hours of lectures to cover material that checks the boxes for various regulations, the details will be lost in the myriad of information given to them on their first day at a new job. Encourage questions, ask questions, and get to know the new hires’ previous experiences with safety. Encourage management to support the concept that safety is important throughout the new hire’s full orientation.
Even though annual refresher trainings are mandatory, this does not mean that they must be dry lectures year after year. While preparing for refresher sessions, think about how the program has evolved throughout the year and discuss the improvements that have been made. Liven up the audience with competitive games like bingo or jeopardy, hold mock spill sessions, or go on a scavenger hunt. Sometimes the more creative you can get with the method of relaying the information, the more effective the delivery.
Safety training is a critical reminder to all staff to follow the established programs put in place to keep them safe on a daily basis. Know your audience and tailor the training sessions to them.
Scientists can come to appreciate safety training rather than spending their time texting or nodding off to sleep during annual refresher sessions. It takes time, energy, and a lot of enthusiasm to get there, but it does happen!