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OSHA Safety Training: How to Create an Effective Workplace Safety Program

An effective and successful business mentality is one that prioritizes keeping employees safe.

A safe workplace is not only a legal requirement as mandated by OSHA, it also prevents you from incurring fines and penalties. When implemented correctly your company's safety program can result in fewer workplace injuries which will directly impact employee morale. It may also lower your insurance rates.

Worker on a step ladder

Key to creating and maintaining a safe workplace is implementing a comprehensive workplace safety training program. This puts employees and your company on the same page regarding safe and unsafe workplace practices and behaviors. If you've never addressed the safety concerns in your business, contact D & D Safety, who specializes in employee safety and safety training programs.

Implementing an effective and successful workplace safety training program involves several key concepts.

Determining Your Needs

Evaluate your current workplace environment to find where safety concerns exist. This will help you to identify the types of safety training needed.

Start out by asking yourself, "Will training help to solve my current safety concern?". Training is most effective when a problem is due to employee performance rather than an issue in the workplace environment.

The most effective training addresses a gap in workers’ knowledge of procedures or in equipment operation. Write down your training needs:

  • Observe and identify where your employees’ knowledge is lacking

  • Formulate a training that hones in on those specific areas

  • Find knowledge gaps by performing a Job Safety Hazards Analysis

  • Document each task's individual steps to determine what safety concerns might exist at each stage

  • Translate the concerns you identify into trainings that address them

Setting Goals and Objectives

Knowing the types of employee safety training programs your company needs does not necessarily address the safety concerns you found. You must also be clear on your goals and objectives for conducting these trainings.

How will you know if your safety trainings were effective? To determine this, you must identify specific goals and objectives against which to compare actual results.

The best goals are devised in such a way as to be clear and measurable. Clear goals are specific, not general, articulating the exact behavior or skill being developed.

By incorporating a way to measure success, you can more easily and effectively evaluate progress. Detailing clear and measurable goals also helps your employees to better understand the purposes of the trainings and what is expected of them.

Developing Safety Training

To develop safety training that is specific and relevant to your company’s unique needs, identify various workplace activities that could help you see where employees are strong or weak. Consider which training methods and materials will most effectively convey the message. Don't forget to take into account each of your employee's knowledge and skill set.

Training methods should directly correspond to the job your employee is performing so that the knowledge gained can be measured on the job after training has been conducted.

Analyzing and Improving

Developing effective workplace safety programs is an organic, ongoing process informed by the nature of the company’s workforce, workplace and current and future challenges and goals. Since these elements are always changing in a business, so too must OSHA safety training programs evolve and adapt to meet these new realities.

To analyze a newly implemented safety program:

  • Follow-up with employees. Ask for and document their feedback to understand the perceived value of your training program.

  • Did training impact employee behaviors? Supervisors should be polled concerning what they have observed both before and after a training session.

  • Have your incident rates decreased? This is probably the strongest indicator as to whether your training program was a success.

How do you make improvements? Based on your analysis, determine if training could have been conducted in a better way. This includes both hands-on training and the learning or presentation materials used.

Revisit your original Job Hazard Analysis report to identify areas that may have been missed. Update the report with any new processes and procedures added during training.

As gaps in training are identified, revise your safety training program before the next session.

Implementing an effective workplace training program requires a bit of planning, but the rewards of a safe and productive workplace far exceed any effort it takes to get them started.

Contact D & D Safety Consulting today at (216) 352-1900 to arrange a no-cost and no-obligation safety audit for your company.


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