Safety Training 2.0: Interactive and Engaging Approaches
Safety training may seem like a dull part of the job, but it can be a lot of fun — and a break from the normal day-to-day operations.
- By Teri Silver
- Feb 05, 2024
Safety in the workplace is important, but with everything else that’s going on, keeping an eye out for trouble is not something most people consider every minute of the day. Still, being aware of one’s surroundings and ready for action—and reaction—is always necessary.
Safety training may seem like a dull part of the job, but it can be a lot of fun — and a break from the normal day-to-day operations. Hands-on activities like puzzles, games, contests and creative videos help get the information across without seeming like a classroom lecture.
Learning styles and attention spans tend to differ for everyone. Some people benefit from straightforward lecturing, some are visual learners and others do best with hands-on instructions. Allowing “students” to choose the best way to learn is the most effective way to get the points across. Nowadays, artificial intelligence improves the workplace too.
Here are a few ways to engage employees in their own safety training:
- Keep it brief. Long safety sessions are dull, no matter how much information there is to present. People tend to get tired and bored, and after an hour or two, they find ways to distract themselves. It’s difficult to remember so much information in sessions that last all day. So schedule short safety training sessions with both new and reviewed material, and reinforce the information by including it in on-the-job exercises and daily discussions.
- Opt for multimedia. Long lectures with question-and-answer sessions may be effective, but short oral presentations, hands-on demonstrations and visual aids are easier to digest.
• Engage employees with multimedia. Create content with speech, drawings, comics, storyboards, music, visual art, sculptures, dance, video or film.
• Social media and interactive web tools like chats, discussion forums, animation and comic strips spark interest among the audience.
• Physical visuals like 3D models and blocks give off a more structured presentation.
- Use games and humor. Games are always a fun way to encourage bonding between employees. Create interactive games for safety training exercises, practicing standard safety activities and boosting morale. A long day of training can be boring, especially for workers who are usually on the go all day. Jokes are a nice way to start the day, especially when they make fun of the topics discussed. Funny videos are helpful too.
- Get physical. Remember those fire drills in school? Go back to the classroom for fire drills, tornado safety, terrorist preparation and chemical leaks. Equipment training and retraining should be on the agenda at least once a year. Because winter weather is a yearly challenge, learn how to remove snow safely. Active participation in safety exercises keeps oxygen flowing to the brain and muscles (and people) from getting tired.
- Practice makes perfect. Repetitive action helps new and longtime employees retain information, especially for safety training. Applying training session lessons to everyday work ensures a more consistent transition. Encourage employees to use their new knowledge in their daily tasks.
- Respect the “elders.” Complete with experience, solid skills and seniority, team up veterans with new hires and those who don’t have as much time on the job. Long-time employees can be good teachers; teaching is a good way to retain information.
- Incentives and rewards. Everyone loves a prize, especially if it’s food or money. Competitions between employee teams can get the creative juices flowing, as the participants are engaged in the contest's outcome. Quizzes and team games are more fun when the employer provides tangible prizes like gift cards, food baskets, gift bags and yes, a little cold, hard cash.
Talking “safety” is one thing, but doing the right thing in the heat of a tense moment is always hit or miss. Practice and physical training give employees a better chance to make the right decision when that moment arrives.