Developing and implementing health and safety training is a major undertaking for most companies. But putting effort into a quality training program matters because the right training ensures workers avoid predictable, adverse situations and preventable injuries. 

The requirement to have health and safety training, the amount of time needed to establish practical training, and making sure the training translates from paper to practice are all massive stressors employers must push past. Thankfully, companies can use a prescribed series of steps to help them design and deliver the best training possible.

The Five-Step Training Cycle

The Infrastructure Health and Safety Association’s (IHSA) Foundations of Facilitating, Training, and Learning recommends the five-step training cycle.

The five steps that can help adult learners retain new knowledge are:

  • Assess the need for training
  • Create the learning content
  • Design training materials
  • Implement the training
  • Assess the efficacy of the training

Step 1 – Assessing Training Needs

Before designing and implementing training, an employer must first understand the specific training needed. The goal is to create a bridge between a worker’s knowledge, skill, and performance. Employees will then be able to carry out their work more effectively and safely than before. To help companies identify training needs, they can conduct job observations, review past inspections and injury reports, and request employees complete a survey. 

Step 2 – Creating Learning Content

Once an employer pinpoints where employees’ training is lacking, they can move on to step two and design the lesson plan. It’s crucial to have employees part of this process, as they are more likely to see where training is falling flat and are more willing to follow through and apply the training they have co-created.

When designing the lesson, identify all the learning objectives. For example, employers should ask: What do workers know now? And what should they understand once this training is completed? 

Some learning objectives could be:

  • Creating awareness of specific safety tasks to prevent future incidents
  • Understanding hazards surrounding products used in the field
  • Knowing how to react in a variety of emergencies
  • Who to contact in particular emergencies for the fastest response
  • Learning how to report inspections, incidents, etc., properly.

After creating learning objectives, employees should be told at the start of the lesson what the training will accomplish. This will keep all workers on the same page and ensure the exercise is effective and successful.

Step 3 – Designing Training Materials

There are six pieces to keep in mind when designing training materials:

  • Moderate the level of content
  • Find a balance between acquiring knowledge, performing skills, and forming attitudes
  • Introduce a variety of training methods
  • Encourage group participation
  • Use participant expertise to your advantage
  • Execute real-world problem solving

Choosing concise and specific material is a more practical approach to using learning materials. Having too much content and information dilutes the overall goal causing employees to feel overwhelmed and preventing them from learning the lesson in-depth.

Diversifying training methods is essential because people learn in all sorts of ways. Be flexible and adapt to different training techniques to help workers learn in their preferred style.

Workers have different experiences to bring to the table. These experiences can help shape training materials into a more effective tool for employers and employees participating in the training.

No one enjoys training for the impossible scenario. So why put your employees through training that will never happen? It’s a waste of time and resources. Instead, ask workers about a current issue they are experiencing and let them walk through how they could solve the problem.

Step 4 – Implementing the Training

All adults learn in different ways, as they bring their own experiences, motivations, and expectations to the training. These past experiences should not be ignored or devalued. However, most adults are problem-centered, more than subject-centered, meaning they are more willing to learn something if they think it will solve a current problem. Make sure to tell employees the why behind the training, or they may chalk up the training as useless.

Step 5 – Assessing the Efficacy

Trainers should look for ways to evaluate the efficiency of training during the actual training. Some ways they can do this are:

  • Observing learners reactions
  • Asking questions
  • Interacting with employees

After training is complete, a convenient way to tell if it was effective is by immediately giving workers a survey to complete. Employees will gauge and rate the training based on their thoughts and experiences on the short survey. The options employers can use are to give a quiz or carry out a hands-on practical.

Organizations Flourish With Effective Health and Safety Training

By properly assessing training needs and evaluating training courses, employers can dramatically increase the effectiveness of health and safety training within their organization. In addition, refresher training helps prevent employees from reverting to old habits and ensures the most recent training continues to be implemented.



How to Create and Deliver Effective Health and Safety Training. Canadian Occupational Safety