Environment, health, and safety (EHS) training is imperative for any organization for numerous reasons, including the fulfillment of compliance obligations as well as the maintenance of a positive safety culture. However, EHS training is sometimes viewed as boring or a chore, and it can be tricky to make sure the lessons from your training stick with employees over the long term.
With the right approach, EHS managers can drive better retention of important training concepts among their workforces. Here are four best practices that can help you get through to employees in the classroom—and provide a greater chance that your EHS training will stick.
1. Focus on Your Company’s Culture from the Top Down
First and foremost, culture is your invisible ally in providing better EHS training. It’s important that leaders across your organization abide by policies, rules, and regulations addressed in your safety training. If they don’t abide, why should your employees? Without management support, health and safety training will not stick with anyone else inside your organization.
When developing your EHS training materials, consider the overall culture of your company or the culture you’re trying to accentuate across your organization. For example, if you’re including information on using personal protective equipment (PPE) on the shop floor, also include information regarding how leaders and managers are also required to follow these rules. Compliance, change, and a company’s culture always start at the top in an organization.
2. Encourage Everyday Accountability
Encouraging your employees to hold themselves and their peers accountable on an everyday basis will also ensure your safety training sticks. Consider assigning safety partners who serve as spotters for employees who operate heavy machinery or otherwise work in hazardous conditions. This way, one employee can point out to another employee when she or he is doing something unsafe. When employees are not merely accountable to management but also have an interest in protecting each other’s health and safety as well, they will be more likely to engage with and retain EHS training.
3. Use Data and Analytics to Verify Your Training’s Effectiveness
If your EHS training is truly sticking with your employees, you’ll be able to uncover data and analytics that prove its effectiveness. For instance, if you conduct EHS training for how to safely handle dangerous equipment or proper hazardous waste management, you’ll know it’s sticking with your employees when fewer injuries occur, fewer citations are issued from regulatory agencies, and internal EHS audits demonstrate compliance and cultural readiness.
4. Make It Engaging and Interesting!
While you should of course take EHS training seriously, you should still make it interesting and engaging. You can conduct it via simulated or gamified environments, for instance. And you can ask questions and take anonymous polls throughout each training module to learn more about what type of content resonates the most with your learners. Another great way to create engaging training is to go straight to your audience—ask employees what topics should be covered to make their jobs safer and how these topics should be approached in training. Employees will support what they have helped to create.
With these four best practices put into play, you can help ensure that EHS training truly sticks with your employees—and it will make the workplace healthier and safer for everyone.
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