The Challenges of Continuous Safety Training

Safety directors and supervisors face many challenges within their positions. Every day they are responsible for educating their coworkers and employees on important safety measures. For some industries, these measures are the difference in life and death. It is a vast responsibility to ensure every person in the workplace understands the risks involved, knows how to mitigate those risks, and does their part to avoid accidents. Continuous safety training makes it possible for all employees to stay up to date on safety protocol that might save their lives. Safety personnel face increased pressure to maintain compliance, reduce incident rates and ensure employee safety. Here are a few challenges they face when it comes to continuous safety training.

Changes in Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) mission is to assure safe and healthful workplaces by setting and enforcing standards, and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. Employers must comply with all applicable OSHA standards. Those businesses found not in compliance with OSHA regulations face penalties and fines. Safety directors are faced with the challenge of staying current on those regulations. Maintaining compliance can be difficult when the rules change year after year. Not staying compliant is grounds for penalties and costly fines.

Employee Attitudes and Safety Culture

In a culture of safety, workers are empowered to take action and are responsible for the safety of themselves and their coworkers. They know their leaders understand the value of safety and are committed to providing the necessary resources and investments to achieve positive results. But what happens when not everyone shares the same attitude?

Safety personnel are faced with the challenge of finding ways to keep workers engaged with safety. Building a culture of safety will lower accident rates, reduce turnover and increase productivity. This requires the support of their managers and other executives within the country. To get employees and supervisors on board, many safety directors have turned to using safety recognition programs. These programs cultivate an open discussion about safety and reward participants. This helps grow the culture of safety and makes each employee feel empowered.

Providing Proper PPE

OSHA requires employers to provide workers with the correct personal protection equipment (PPE) for each type of job. This can be a challenge for many safety directors who have limited budgets. Supplying each worker with PPE is not a “one-size fits all” approach. Each employee in each job category has different needs. It is imperative that PPE equipment fits properly in order to provide adequate protection. For many safety directors, it is difficult to find quality PPE at a price their organization can afford.

Many organizations purchase PPE in bulk and order a variety of sizes all at once. Other organizations order equipment based on need. Many have found steep discounts by ordering equipment online.

Scheduling for Training

Making safety a priority is a safety director or supervisor’s primary job. This includes providing safety training for every employee. Safety directors are responsible for putting together course catalogs, presenters, providing training equipment, and figure out when to schedule training sessions. All that while also making sure their safety training efforts meet the requirements set by OSHA and scheduling employees to attend training without interrupting the normal workflow. Safety directors also keep a record of all safety and health training. Documentation can also supply an answer to one of the first questions an incident investigator will ask: “Did the employee receive adequate training to do the job?”

These are just a few of the challenges faced by safety personnel when it comes to providing continuous safety training. As always, their main priority is to make sure workers are safe while performing their daily job tasks. Depending on the number of employees, supervising the health and safety of each person is a big job. Safety directors and supervisors have found new and creative ways to face the challenges of continuous safety training using tools provided to them by OSHA and other resources.

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