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Use ICW Resources to take Ownership of your Risk Management Program

- April 25, 2014 by Jose Gutierrez, CSP (View all posts by Jose)

Recently a client asked me if it was okay to do all their annual safety training for their seasonal workers in one ½ hour training session. At first I thought he was kidding, so I asked for clarification, “Are you talking about a monthly safety talk”?

“Oh, no,” the client responded, “These workers are temporary employees and will only be here 4 -5 months at the most.”

My simple answer to him was no.  The client further stated that other consultants had done their annual training in a ½ hour.

One has to beg the question, how effective do you think that kind of training is?

There is an old English common law axiom that you cannot contract out your legal obligation to comply with the law. In other words, just because you hire an independent consultant to assist you with, or even manage your written Injury & Illness Prevention Program, this contract does not relieve you of your obligation to provide a safe work environment and to provide training.

OSHA requires that the employer “instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury” (Safety Training).  Safety training should be completed for employees when the program is established, at hire or when job assignments or other changes to the work environment occur.  Keep in mind the old adage “that an oral contract is not worth the paper it’s written on.” So, document, document, document, and, when in doubt—document.  This includes all of your safety activities (trainings, inspections, accident investigations, i.e. everything.)

Returning to our discussion of a  ½ hour annual training session, it is not likely that effective training on new substances, processes, or procedures can be disseminated and comprehended in a quick ½ hour  meeting held once a year.  Safety training is not something to get out of the way, but a way to educate employees on how to stay safe while they are working.

Here are a few pointers to help you in organizing safety training for your employees:

  • Employees are more likely to understand and comprehend a short monthly tailgate safety meeting where safety topics are divided into individual subjects that cover their particular range of responsibilities in more depth and detail.
  • In order to make your safety manageable, it is recommended that you provide training by department and job exposures. In other words, it is not necessary to provide training to all employees on ladder safety if their job is not likely to entail the use of a ladder.  However, any employee expected to use a ladder must have been trained before he uses it.
  • Plan your safety topics in advance for the year, but allow for flexibility to address applicable topics as they arise.
  • Don’t forget to document all of the training that you do.

So how do you find topics and put them together without spending hours searching the Internet?

If you are an ICW Group customer, you already have great resources to develop and implement or supplement your training program in the RMRx Safety Advisor.  These include sample policies and procedures, safety training materials, posters, quizzes, and links to other safety related websites. You also have access to a video library in the myResource Center.

One of the best parts about using myResource and the RMRx Safety Advisor is that you can do the training yourself and take ownership of your safety program and risk management effort. Your employees are more likely to take safety seriously when they see that you have a vested interest in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

References:

“Safety Training and Education.”  Osha.gov. U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, ND. Web. 23 April 2014.  https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=10607&p_table=STANDARDS