The pitfalls of jumping into health and safety training

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When you organise training, how much do you think “All training is good training,” or “Well, it’s better than having no training at all surely?” be honest, you’re certainly not going to be the only one. It is true that an untrained workforce will soon cost a business, but token training is of very little value and is certainly a cost.

It is easy to jump into Health and safety training, especially when you’re just trying to satisfy a regulator or auditor or tick a box. When there’s a need to train your team leaders for example, a course is found and booked, often with the same provider to save time, as the next task looms large on your return.  

An off-the-shelf package may be the easiest solution but generic materials and teaching can mean that your delegates can’t then interpret how that applies to them or their business.

When viewed and implemented this way, health and safety training may actually provide minimal benefits. While it might sound like a strange sentiment for us to express, as a health and safety training provider for the UK manufacturing industry, we know that planning is key even when investing in tool box, or short courses. Before you start any training programme you need the answers to some very simple questions:

  1. What do I need the attendee of a training course to do differently on their return?
  2. How will I measure the change and ensure the time to plan and train has brought benefit to the business?
  3. Now I know what I want who should attend the course?
  4. From the list of names of potential attendees do they have the right knowledge, skill and attitude to learn and make this successful?

hardhats 

If you don’t, you run the risk of your health and safety training failing as:

  1. Trainers don’t know what you want –Your company will need certain knowledge and particular skills to deliver on its business objectives and without planning and working with your provider they won’t know what or how your people will need to develop.
  2. You won’t know which course is the right solution – Just because a course has ‘managers’ in the title, doesn’t mean it’s the right programme for your managers or the level of risk and challenges in your workplace.
  3. Your training won’t stick – An off-the-shelf package may be the easiest solution but generic materials and teaching can mean that your delegates can’t then interpret how that applies to them or their business. By working with your provider to develop the materials to suit your business will bring it to life for your delegates. They can then see how it applies to them and their work and will leave the training room with the ability to apply their new skills in their role.
  4. Behaviours won’t change – Without setting out at the beginning what behaviours you want to change - it’s highly unlikely that training will deliver the changes your business needs.
  5. You won’t know what the impact has been - If delegates return to work without a measured assessment of the learning outcomes, establishing whether there has been any impact on the management of risk there’s no mechanism to identify the return on expectation (ROE) and no way to identify if the time and money spent has made any difference. Importantly, you won’t know if there is any further training needed to ensure the knowledge and skills required are achieved.

You should look to develop a tailored plan to reap the most rewards long term in the form of reduced accidents, more competent staff and more measurable benefits. Moreover for those who are most successful there is a move from compliance to commitment to safety, evidenced by those who illustrate discretionary effort and greater performance.

To discuss your particular training needs and objectives, get in touch with us.

Author

Senior Business Solutions Partner

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