What Should Be Included in Every Occupational Health and Safety Training Program

Occupational health and safety training is an extremely important activity at the workplace.

More than 1.4 million workers are affected by a serious job-related injury or illness each year. Focusing on enhanced prevention can reduce this number as well as the severity of workplace injuries. Injury illness and prevention programs are tools that can effectively offer a safer work environment for employees by assessing threats, education and training and program evaluation. Because workplace incidents are costly at physical, financial and emotional levels to employees and their families, implementing an effective occupational health and safety (OH&S) training is imperative to avoid expensive and fatal consequences.

The OH&S Program Should Cover the Basic Elements

The main objective of a program is to lay out a plan of action that will prevent accidents and occupational diseases. Recognizing that each organization’s needs differ from the other, there are some common elements though that should be present in the plan such as a policy statement, accountability and the general responsibilities of all employees. The program should also outline individual responsibility, health and safety procedures, reporting protocols, employee orientation and training.

In addition, workplace inspections must take place at regular intervals to check that the job site is safe and at the same time carry out an assessment of threats with the appropriate recommendations to fix the problems. Leaking ceilings, faulty wirings, malfunctioning work equipment and poor ventilation are some areas that affect workers’ health and safety. Emergency procedures must also be included in the program and training in cases where an impending threat such as fires, flood or hazardous waste contamination appears, among others. Moreover, should there be situations at the workplace, everyone must be able to do first aid and know where the medical equipment and supplies are being kept.

Program Implementation and Delivery of Training

In implementing the program, both employers and employees have specific responsibilities to fulfill. Employers must provide a safe work environment and equip employees with PPE. On the other hand, workers must wear their PPE as required by employers, follow safety protocol and know and comply with all regulations.

They must also participate in OH&S training courses to update their knowledge on equipment use and safety procedures. While it is not possible to convene everyone for a training program, technology fortunately makes it feasible to reach a wide audience. As an example, if workers cannot come to a training session at headquarters, virtual platforms can be used. It is possible to livestream training so that even those who are in remote locations or sites can participate. Training can be conducted anytime on a virtual platform. It also offers the flexibility to use pre-recorded lectures that workers can view later.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of OH&S

Accident, fatality and injury rates are not the only indicators used in evaluating the effectiveness of an OH&S program because some incidents may be under-reported. In addition, doing an audit which uses a checklist and series of questions as well as interviews, questionnaires and observations with a corresponding weighting factor can be used to evaluate the efficacy of the program. This should be followed by remedial actions with target dates and checks for their completion.

Occupational health and safety training is an extremely important activity at the workplace. It helps in reducing risks and hazards that affect the health and wellbeing of workers. Due to the costly nature of accidents, injuries and deaths, improving workplace safety also improves a company’s bottom lines.

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