How To Conduct Safety Training For New Employees
The orientation or introduction of new employees to any organization is an essential process. Whether the employee is from another site or division, promoted and then assigned to a new work setup, or totally new to the company, the orientation is the first step to ensuring employee productivity, growth and safety. As a process, it is all about explaining the overall background of the organization, work processes and policies, and other standards that must be conveyed to the new workers.
An important aspect of the orientation is safety training, which is very critical to impart, as most new employees would be unfamiliar with the risks that come with their job. In the United States, all workplaces are required to give out this specific orientation before the new workers start on any task. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) released a guideline that states requirements for those identified as new employees. The company should also be able to demonstrate right away their concern for the workers, as well as their sincere intention to carry out their moral obligations for the employees’ health and safety.
OSHA also says that employers are obligated to deliver the orientation that encompasses the safety training and education. Doing this results in heightened awareness of the health and safety hazards that come with jobs, and also teaches employees about the controls in place for their protection. Safety trainings are almost always a part of the orientation process to help reduce risks of potential workplace accidents and injuries.
At this point, the question remains – how to conduct the safety training for new employees? Here are the five steps to carrying out this vital orientation for each fresh batch of workers:
Identify the safety training needs.
This entails assessment of the overall workplace and organizational structure. Are the hazards stemming from workers? Or is it the workplace that poses risks? Or could the work routines be the likely source of hazards? Only the company could provide the specific answers to these. Workplace safety experts strongly point out the need to have a job hazard analysis. Specific training objectives will come from the identified gaps. The result of the hazard analysis could also be the source of other safety issues in the workplace, which the new workers need to also know.
Set training goals.
The new employees must know and appreciate the purpose of their safety training. This could be achieved by setting goals for the training – and merged well with the vision and mission of the organization. The training goals and objectives should be easy to understand, and the new employees must be able to describe them at the end of the training. The facilitators must communicate with the attendees so that both management and participants know the expected outcome of the training. Furthermore, both parties must agree on one overall goal as to why the safety training is essential to everyone involved, and to the organization as a whole.
Have workplace safety learning activities.
Once the objectives are set, focus on doable, interesting and highly educational activities. Bear in mind that the training doesn’t need to be carried out in just one setting, and could last for many days or weeks. Each activity must be crafted to consider the type of training setup—for example, if it’s a group activity or a one-on-one training. The participants’ specific assignments, skills or experience must also be considered when designing various safety training activities. It is important that hands-on learning is integrated into the different undertakings during the period. To identify specific activities, note the equipment, tools, materials and others items to be used. These learning aids must truly serve their purpose, particularly because some options could just be a distraction during the activities.
Identify speakers or trainers, venues and other resources.
When it comes to safety training, it is usually divided into different components like theory or lectures, and then hands-on activities. It is very important that the facilitators conducting the theoretical component oversee the “in action” stage of the training. In this way, there will be no “sense of disconnect” between what the new employees heard versus what they will do during the hands-on portion of training. As for the venue, it must be noted that the participants should find it conducive to learning. The learning environment should allow the new employees to hear clearly and be heard if they need to raise queries and clarifications. They must also feel comfortable so that their focus is on learning and not the unease of the venue, like poor ventilation or lighting, disruptive noises, etc.
Conduct the safety training.
When everything is in place, it’s then time to start with the safety training. The participants who would be new workers must be oriented with the overall organization vision and mission, standards and procedures, the work guidelines and then the background of why the particular training is important. The schedule of activities for the duration should also be laid out beforehand, particularly if there are on-site and hands-on aspects of the training. There could be specific parts of the training where exposure to the actual work sites would take place. If so, the new employees should be briefed so that they can also prepare themselves for this. Or it could be that the training preparation would include all the clothing or any other equipment the new people would need during such activities.
It is very common for many smaller organizations to simply have a walk-around of the whole workplace to get the new workers familiarized with the area. But for the most part, this would not be sufficient for them to appreciate the need for a safe, healthy workplace. What they really would need is an intensive understanding of their roles in ensuring their own safety. This would include the hazards that come with the processes they will be involved in, and the equipment, vehicles or tools that they will be using.
The new workers should also come to understand the value of protective gear and equipment, as well as help identify any potential risks to themselves, fellow employees and the workplace as a whole. The safety training should also involve their reinforced knowledge of safety and hazard signs and symbols and emergency response and evacuation systems. Indeed, safety training for new employees isn’t the “step one” to starting work – it’s their total package of knowledge for staying safe and healthy at work. In this way, the new employees become an efficient, productive force in the organization.