Safety Training: Reinforcement Pays
If workers don’t use what they’ve learned in safety training sessions, they’ve wasted their time – and their employer’s money. In many cases, the reason is a lack of reinforcement when they get back on the job.
The first step in avoiding this problem is to meet with participants beforehand to agree on mutual expectations and objectives for the session. Depending on the type of training, this discussion can take place up to four weeks before the program begins. Don’t wait until the day before the meeting.
After the session, simply asking trainees how they liked the program is not enough – even though that’s where reinforcement often stops. Instead, meet with workers individually and as a group for follow-up to help determine whether the training met everyone’s expectations, the work environment is supportive of the concept(s) taught, and the participants know how to implement what they learned on the job.
To reinforce the effectiveness of training, job safety experts recommend these guidelines:
- Be sure that the trainer(s) have a solid understanding of the participants’ jobs and make the content relevant and practical.
- Link the training to your company’s goals and objectives so that workers understand the importance and the relevance of the information.
- Minimize interference from the job during the session so that trainees can give their full attention to the content.
- Allow for reflection and application throughout the training, giving participants a chance to think about how to use this knowledge and skills back on the job.
- Provide opportunities for practice and feedback to reinforce the training.
We’re always ready to advise you on implementing an effective follow-up program on your job safety programs.
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