One of the best ways to improve workplace safety culture is to provide ongoing training. This keeps safety issues in focus and cements important information such as safe work practices in your employees' minds. Typically, ongoing training involves workplace health and safety lectures. While these are often effective, it pays to get creative and mix things up now and then.
Educational experts agree that everyone learns differently. Some of us are visual and can retain information from reading, some do better by listening, and others need hands-on experience to understand a new concept. Presenting material in a variety of ways covers all these bases to make sure important safety messages are getting through to everyone. Here are four approaches to workplace safety training that keep things interesting and creative.
1) "Safety Training Workplace Video" Killed the Radio Star
A video can break the ice, add a bit of humor into a situation or otherwise drive home a point better than a lecture alone. Consider starting or ending with a video that matches the theme of your safety presentation. Here are a few samples of free videos on YouTube.
Wasn't Me: Most workers can relate to this humorous and cheesy take on personal responsibility and workplace safety.
A Reaper's Guide to OH&S: This video, made in Australia, mixes humor with a serious message about workplace hazards and safety training.
The Matthew Bowcott Story: this true story illustrates how even a seemingly small event, a change in the order of procedures, can be a serious safety hazard. A serious and at times graphic video, it highlights a worker's right and responsibility to speak up. The makers of this video, WorkSafeBC, also have a series of other true story videos on their YouTube channel.
The Safety Memos channel: this entire YouTube channel is devoted to workplace health and safety topics. The channel boasts many different safety topics, so browse through to see if any correspond with your upcoming safety presentations.
2) Game of Knowns: Workplace Safety Training Topic Edition
Most safety training can be boiled down to a few concepts. The best way, over time, to drill those ideas into people's heads is to repeat them. Here's where our suggestions get a little silly. But before you scoff at these ideas, remember that straight repetition gets boring and wacky presentations tend to stick in people's minds longer.
- Set up a workplace safety quiz or game in the style of a popular game show.
- Divide workers into teams, and get each team to write a song or rap about the concept you're teaching. It's amazing how those lyrics will stay in their minds over time.
- Play work safety bingo, with small incentives or prizes for the winners.
- Get groups of staff to make posters (humor and creativity encouraged) about a safety concept. The posters act as a visual reminder long after your safety presentation is over.
3) Talk to Me, Goose
Workers know where they need to brush up, and what safety issues their colleagues are having trouble remembering. Maybe they feel rusty with CPR training. Or they've noticed that hazardous materials aren't always handled properly. Since you're not on the floor all the time, ask your staff which topics need a refresher. If you think they won't speak up, maybe for fear of calling out a colleague, make the process anonymous. It will give you valuable feedback about where to focus your workplace safety training.
4) A New Sound
At the very least, mix it up with new presenters. This could be staff members from different departments or representatives from your local governmental safety office. Maybe even give workers assignments to present on different topics (give them bullet points and let them decide how to present the information).
When you're trying new presentation methods, don't worry about not seeming serious. If you weren't serious about safety, you wouldn't be researching better ways to drive the message home. You can always intersperse unconventional presentations with standard training. The main goal is always for employees to understand and remember crucial information and if a silly game achieves that, it's worth trying.