For most construction workers, wintertime is generally “downtime.” However, it is also a good time to conduct safety training without disrupting normal productivity. Safety training is essential to the success of a company’s overall safety program. Some workers may not always recognize the importance of safety training, or even think it’s necessary. Many are seasoned veterans who have been doing things the same way for years and have had nothing really bad happen…YET! In order to reap the full benefits of safety training, it is important to continually communicate its value and purpose.
Ten important reasons for conducting safety training include:
- Without periodic safety training, work becomes routine, alertness dulls and a relaxed attitude replaces caution that workers once had when the job was new. Routine work without the proper attention given to safety can increase the risk for accident or injury.
- Periodic safety training helps remind workers that danger always exists on the job. Whether a person has been doing a type of work for one day, twenty years, or somewhere in between, they are not immune to an accident. Accidents do not discriminate and can ruin your life.
- Safety training helps workers learn how to safely do a job and provides information to help them understand what they should or should not do.
- Safety training teaches what protective equipment to use, when to use it, and how to use it properly.
- Safety training contributes toward making workers competent in health and safety, and can help in avoiding the distress that accidents and ill health can cause.
- Safety training is essential to developing a positive health and safety culture, where safe and healthy working habits become second nature to everyone within the company.
- Effective safety training helps us understand that accident prevention is a priority, and that unnecessary accidents and injuries can result in financial hardships for a company and its workers.
- Safety training is an opportunity to provide information about near misses and other mishaps to help avoid falling victim to repeat incidents and hazards.
- Safety training can help employers avoid the experiences of damaged equipment and products, and the ill effects of lost production from work stoppages and unmotivated workers.
- OSHA and other laws require it.
Although the reasons mentioned above are equally important, we can all agree that embedding safety training into the normal activities of a workday helps to make it routine and helps keep safety at the front of our minds. Safety requires continuous discussion and instruction.
Safety training can occur in the form of a toolbox talk and other daily huddles to a more formally-organized setting. It is critical to regularly work toward improving safety knowledge. Teaching, educating and informing about safety practices must be a continual effort. Those few minutes of safety training at the start of the shift may prove to be the most important time spent all day.