By Edupliance | 12th September, 2016

If you or some of your co-workers messed up during a critical workplace safety situation, chances are that your entire staff might be sent into a training program to address the shortcomings in your response time.

This is where the catch is – different situations demand different trainings, but this does not happen. Not only do employees get bored by attending the same training all over again, this disciplinary action starts to feel like a punishment rather than an important lesson in safety.

Why Do Training Exercises Feel Like Punishment To Many Employees?

Research has shown that re-training tends to irritate employees and make them think that training is punishment for lack of judgment during a critical situation. This is primarily because re-training tends to be repetitive since most employees have already attended such sessions over and over again, but employers make the mistake of making them revisit what they already know.

If workers are prone to getting tuned-out during a session, it means they are not getting something new out it. This is why an upgrade in your workplace’s approach towards addressing lapses in safety is beckoning.

What Should Employers Do to Rectify This Mistake?

Employers and safety managers need to understand that no two workplace accidents are the same. A practiced technique is difficult to exercise especially if you are posed with a very different situation in varied incidents.

Since these sessions are held on company cost, it is better to analyze what techniques can rectify the errors in judgment of some employees who messed up rather than sending the entire workplace to attend a training they have already done before. Here are some steps your management can take to solve the issue:

  1. Identify Cause and Impact of Accident: Always determine if the reaction of some employees involved in the accident was caused due to improper training or if the training did not give them the needed knowledge for this kind of situation. The latter can be solved with an overhauled training program which can cover this educational lapse in a better session. 
  2. Make Trainings Mandatory Only For Serious Lapses in Judgment: Do not generalize sessions, conduct behavior analysis tests and mock written tests to judge which employee needs to learn what in occupational safety. Make re-trainings mandatory only if the session has something new to offer. Otherwise, find newer methods to engage workers like mock safety drills, visits to fire departments or making them watch actual recordings of incidents and see how people involved in the incident reacted.
  3. Adopt Variety: Training sessions need not be from the same source every time! The management should make plans to fill only the knowledge deficits for employees who are advised re-training, the rest of the staff can be sent to an upgraded and different kind of session in a tier-based training plan.
  4. Create A Safe Operating Culture: Invest in better equipment by installing warning systems, assigning safety marshals, and designate safety routes which can instill more faith in the workers that situations will be under control. It is always reassuring for a human being to know that someone’s got their back. Employees should also be able to report such incidents without a fear of punishment. A safe operating culture will help workers have more confidence and give them courage to deal with a situation.
  5. Stop Blame-Games And Quick-Fire Punishment: Some employers prefer the path of firing a worker for misconduct or untimely action. Punishment is not the solution! To ensure effective action, a culture of safety needs to be achieved. Blaming someone for a fire, panic during a biohazard or inaction in disarming an armed fugitive is simply stupid and uncalled for.
  6. Learn From The Past: Analyze and interpret shortcomings in each workplace safety incident that has happened in your workplace. Take the help of investigators and experts to understand how to prevent future mishaps. Try to simplify safety procedures and make sure that trainings include best-practices on dealing with the shortcomings.
  7. Fight The Urge To Exercise Legal Pressure: Compliance professionals have the tendency to put legal pressure on some employee or employees to make someone accountable for the mess. This a huge misstep in management and they should learn not to point fingers at a single source (an employee).
  8. Embrace Complexity: As a business owner or senior management, you need to understand that each safety breach can be different and their reactionary measures will always be different. Identify and uprooting the root causes of the risk and upgrading safety standards of the workplace are the best solution.

If you are an employee, remember this, that the intention of your employer to send you and your co-workers to a safety training session is always good. They simply want you to understand safety risks better and teach you how to handle them with efficiency, and most importantly, not getting hurt or losing your life in the process. Talking to your HR department can always help you in making them understand what you know and what you don’t in being able to manage a safety situation.

As an employer, this approach will save you litigation costs and also help you retain good employees rather than firing them. The benefits are two-fold – by adopting this approach, you can not only prevent safety lapses at your workplace with a plan-based structure, but also turn it into a more engaging and worthwhile experience for each employee.

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