While a safety training program is often key in establishing a culture of health and safety at work, there are cases in which it may fail in living up to that very promise. This may happen if occupational safety is treated as just a compliance issue rather than a necessity for worker health and well-being. If it’s seen as something that just has to be done and not as an asset that can make a positive impact on worker morale and productivity, the program is bound to underachieve or at worse, miss out on its real purpose.
To get the best out of an occupational health and safety program, the organization must consistently evaluate if the existing plan is being implemented in a way that it’s helping the company and its employees get in a position where they can succeed and grow, without worrying about certain hazards that can slow down production and efficiency.
Here are some ways organizations can measure the impact of their occupational safety program on their staff.
Use Reaction Surveys
Reaction surveys are given at the end of safety training sessions by trainers to evaluate what students learned. It’s usually done by examining the perception of the participants through questions with regards to the effectiveness of the program, clarity of instructions, or if the handouts were helpful or not, among other relevant information that can help improve certain aspects of the plan and its implementation.
Ask For Feedback
A lot of times, asking for direct feedback from employees is the best way to understand how much they’ve learned and how effective safety training sessions are. However, most organizations fail to do this, and some don’t /even use such metrics.
It’s the management’s responsibility to acquire and organize a feedback system so that trainers can make sense of student progress and the program’s overall effectiveness. This includes identifying the relevance of training materials, since factors such as behavior and technology, can change with time.
Also, applying company-wide standards may not be sufficient since everyone has different needs and learning capabilities. Therefore, it is crucial to ask for feedback after every training session. It will also encourage employees to ask for help and provide suggestions on the next one for better modules. All in all, feedback should be able to help you distinguish between perception and intention and help your organization determine what needs to be done.
Measuring the skills and the information students retained during training can be done using a number of different ways. This includes:
- Report and feedback of supervisors
- Reporting and tracking of data
- Examination of applied learning projects
- Test scores before and after training
- Course certification
- Course completion
At this point, you will be able to figure out if the training is capable of meeting its goals. This also includes the specific skills that need to be determined via training along with other areas of opportunities that can be addressed in the future.
This is the best way to determine the Return-on-Investment (ROI) of the health and safety trainig since you’re now looking at actual results that it brings to the table. The main metrics that you would want to focus on include:
- Employee engagement and rework
- Work quality
- Work production
- Business results in the form of customer satisfaction levels and sales
Measuring the effectiveness of your occupational health and safety training program is invaluable, since the well-being of the workforce and their performance under such system will be critical in determining your success as an organization. In the long run, proper implementation and sustained commitment to the program shouldn’t just simply provide a safe and productive learning environment, but also significantly contribute in reducing costs, preserving resources, boosting workplace productivity, and improving brand reputation.
Metrics & evaluation
It is paramount that organizations hold the right tools to track and report on employee training data. By capturing the right information, and generating reports, employers can improve their decision-making and evaluate the success of and the needs for safety training.
As mentioned earlier, companies should capture both hard and soft data: it’s equally important to ask descriptive feedback from the employees as it is to follow metrics such as productivity and incident rates before and after training. With the help of an occupational health and safety software, employers can easily get an overview of the impact training has, or hasn't, had.
An occupational health and safety software is a helpful tool that allows employers to track and manage employees' pending and completed training. Deploying a system that integrates with programs such as SharePoint comes with huge benefits since this integrates with your calendar thus allowing you to see and manage upcoming training events. SharePoint is also convenient for employers when used for storing training data and following up on individual’s training development.
Moreover, with SharePoint, organizations can assign training to workers (e.g. after an incident) and restrict access to the data to include only those that need to have access to it (relevant to GDPR).
The purpose of training
Training is arranged for a variety of reasons; new procedures, incident management, lack of experience, compliance, and the list goes on. It should be acknowledged, however, that both experienced and unexperienced workers might require training. Especially in jobs that involve many risks, safety must be the priority number one. The human nature is to get accustomed to and comfortable in a task, meaning that retraining should be provided on a regular basis so as to remind and refresh workers’ ability to stay wary of common risks and hazards within their immediate work environment.
So, to get most of your employee training, remember to:
- evaluate your current training plan and make sure it responses to your needs,
- ask employee feedback before and after training,
- take into account employees’ individual needs,
- measure ROI from training (employee skills, work quality, incident rates and productivity etc.),
- deploy a system that allows you to capture data and follow up on employee training data.
Editor: Tytti Rekosuo
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