Training is a major responsibility. Whether you’re a training professional, a veteran of company training, or have just been asked to take over or start up a training programme, you have a great deal of responsibility. Just think about all the different kinds of training employees need throughout their careers.
There’s no doubt that health and safety training is an ongoing need in every company. Unfortunately, it’s not always a top priority. As the person responsible for health and safety training in your organisation, you can bring employee learning to the top of the priority list – and become a hero in the process.
How can you accomplish this? By turning yourself into a skilled trainer who inspires lifelong learning in company employees at every level and who keeps up-to-date on the ever-changing and always innovative health and safety training industry. Employees will look forward to learning new skills and reinforcing old ones, managers will look forward to the increased profits that your well-trained workforce will produce, and you can look forward to assisting your company to become that much more efficient.
Why is workplace safety training so important?
One of the first challenges trainers will face is resistance from both employees and management. Employees are frustrated at taking time away from their jobs, and managers aren’t always convinced that time spent training is time well spent.
You can convince both groups that training is crucial by proving to them that training is, in fact, a crucial part of the entire organisation’s success, and not just in terms of adhering to safety regulations. To remain competitive in today’s global marketplace, it is vital that your company’s workforce maintains the best skills and know-how to produce the best products and services. This includes ensuring your workforce is healthy and safe, and you can achieve this through initial training to bring employees up to speed in their individual roles, and then ensuring subsequent continual training in all new technologies, systems, or methods that bring more efficiency, more features, better services – and ultimately fewer injuries, incidents and fatalities.
A poorly trained workforce is more likely to turn out poor-quality products. Even if employees receive top-notch initial training, your company can fall behind in the competitive marketplace if employees don’t continue to learn how to do their jobs better and more safely.
To thrive in today’s business world, your company needs to depend on employee education to promote six critical interests:
- Effective use of new technology. As technology continues to revolutionise the workplace, employees at all levels and with all degrees of experience will rely on training to keep up with the changes to their work processes. Because it is so important, this training will require comprehensive and continued effort.
- Competitive edge in your market. Companies now receive fierce competition, not just from local competitors, but from global, overseas operations. In many cases foreign companies will beat out local firms in quality, cost, and service. To remain competitive in the current marketplace, employees need to know how to make better products and services for your market, and this means all necessary training to ensure they remain at the ‘top of their game’ must continue.
- Safety and health of employees. In order to have a productive, creative, and committed workforce, employers need to make sure that employees are protected from workplace hazards and given the knowledge and skills they need to work safely. Safety training is a key component of any organisation’s productivity and prosperity.
- Retention of skilled workers. Skilled and creative employees seek opportunities for career development and personal growth in their jobs. They want the chance to do challenging work and be well compensated. They also want to be with a company where they can continue to learn and enhance their skills. If they don’t receive adequate training opportunities in their organisation, they will find somewhere where they can.
- Compliance with laws and regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the US, for example, requires employers to conduct annual employee training in a number of safety procedures. In other cases, although laws may not require it, training (at least of key employees) is highly advisable to avoid problems (e.g., sexual harassment, discrimination, violence prevention, diversity). The cost of not adequately training employees in all of these areas can translate into large fines or expensive lawsuits (for failing to uphold the rights of protected employees).
- Productivity and profitability. Training makes workers more skilled and knowledgeable, which makes them more productive, better able to meet quality standards, and more able to provide excellent and efficient service to customers. Training, therefore, makes organisations more competitive, more profitable, and more successful.