When you're planning your training sessions for the year, hand safety training is almost always at the top of the list. With hand injuries behind only back strain as the leading cause of missed days of work, you need inventive ways to keep pushing the topic. You have a comprehensive strategy for holding employees' attention. Now, try one of these hand safety training ideas to emphasize the real dangers your staff faces.
Make Hand Safety Training Personal
Traditionally, workplace training has revolved around the risks on the job and how to avoid them. This information is valuable, but sometimes it falls on deaf ears. Many times, employees have a hard time understanding why hand injuries are such a big deal. Sure, a cut hurts, but overall they see the worst case as highly unlikely and disconnected from them.
You need to bridge that gap for employees so they take workplace hand safety seriously. To do so, show them the end result of losing function in their hands. You can do this through your presentation, but a hands-on—or, rather, hands-off—approach is ideal. Set up common tasks around the training area—opening a pickle jar, lighting a match, using a hairbrush, that sort of thing. As you talk about hand safety, ask employees to try these common tasks without using their hands. Put oven mitts over their hands so they can't use their fingers, and watch how they struggle with everyday life. Then, work this reality into the rest of your presentation.
Go for the Gross Factor
This may not work for all audiences, but it's worth a try to reach people who otherwise tune out during safety meetings. Using an analogy during hand tool safety training, for example, to exhibit the devastation tools can cause allows you the freedom to talk in gory detail about consequences without anyone actually getting hurt. You don't have to go Mythbusters style and get ballistics gel or an unfortunate pig from the butcher, either. Showing a machine flattening carrots or a hand tool piercing a melon is just as effective.
If you can't bring yourself to have a full-scale demonstration, try a video to drive home the reality of these injuries.
Use Multimedia the Right Way
Speaking of videos, presenters adore using them. They break up the monotony of a PowerPoint and lend an outside authority to what you're saying.
Trouble is, hand safety training videos often feel out of touch, especially for your veteran employees. To keep those team members engaged, you have to know how to choose a video that touches on the training topic without coming off as juvenile or irrelevant. Again, personal stories often work well in scenarios like this. If you don't have an employee (or former employee) who is willing to share his or her story, there are plenty of appropriate videos online.
Of course, video isn't the only multimedia option you have. From inserting polling questions into your presentation and having employees use their phones or a special voting system to respond to having employees live tweet or live blog their training experience, your options are widespread. Know what resonates with your audience and integrate their preferences into your workplace hand safety plan.
Involve Employees in Workplace Hand Safety Audits
One proven way to hold a group's attention: Let them know they're accountable for the results. In this case, small training groups are easier for you to manage and follow up with in the coming weeks and months. Give each group its hand safety training materials and presentation as normal. Before you start, though, let them know you intend to engage each of them in a workplace-wide assessment of how well the company as a whole and each work unit in particular adheres to the information on their handouts. Then, after you're done, facilitate a self-organization session so that employees take ownership over analyzing a specific aspect of your training information in the field. Give each employee a way to report their findings, including an anonymous method for those who don't want to rat out their friends publicly. Once you receive each team's information, tally the results and have representatives from each small group come together to prioritize the issues with you. This way, employees own both the assessment and the resolution process.
Remember, ask for this information only if you're willing to see issues through to their resolution. For example, say your employees consistently identify that their hand protection no longer matches the risks they face using equipment at your company. If you aren't prepared to either pay for new protective gear right away or at least get it approved for next year's budget, you set a tone of mistrust among your staff. Mitigate this concern from the beginning by speaking openly with employees about your current budget limitations and how you intend to use the information they provide.
With memorable hand safety training sessions, employees are more likely to recall what they've learned long after their session is over. Involve your employees in the process and employ the right balance of personal consequences to connect safety rules to real life for your staff.