Safety is not the destination. Safe, secure, happy and healthy are the destinations.
Safety in the workplace is our journey. And safety doesn’t just happen. Like a journey, such as a trip or vacation, always goes smoothest when there is a road map. The road map delineates the best way to get from where you are in workplace safety to where you want to go, and lays out the fastest route, safest route, and detours around trouble to ensure you reach that destination.
If you don’t have a map, it can be easy to get lost. And when workers’ livelihoods and lives are at risk, getting lost is not an option. So when you put together safety protocols and such, don’t go in blind and try to improvise something as you go.
Objectives: The Safety Mileposts
Jeff Dalto wrote an interesting piece in a recent issue of Professional Safety magazine about establishing a road map to safety, discussing the process of safety training and setting the table for safety in general in the workplace.
Dalto starts his article about the way that any of us should start when we are looking to start or complete a safety training program – with objectives. Training should always have focus to it, or it could go on for a while and serve little purpose.
Objectives keep training in the lines of the road, and serve as mileposts on the journey – where training is developed to achieve competence and understanding of all your workers in the basics of safety that you wish to implement.
We must be clear: Objectives are not what to cover in training (proper cleaning of machinery, for example); they are the actions and behaviors to be conducted and enforced that will show competence in being safe while doing the what.
Another very key point to effective training is knowing two things about how to put the training together, and both things require known objectives.
The first is knowing what to include in the training to help teach the employees how to do what is the safety best-practice and commit it as part of their everyday activities. You run a risk of overwhelming with too much information, but you also don’t want to leave anything out that may well leave a hole in your protocol and be the area where hazards come into play
The other item to address is what not to include in the training. Having objectives clarifies the focus of the training, and being specific with the objectives can help decide what is extraneous in the training and does not need to be included.
Again, giving too much information can be detrimental to the training – the goal is to keep things bite-size so they are easy to understand and easy for workers to implement and eventually make the actions and behaviors part of their routine and not something about which they should think.
The second and final post about Dalto’s article will go into the advaantages of notifying employees of the training, testing and evaluating the training and the employees in their understanding of the objectives.