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3 Ways to Revolutionize Workplace Health & Safety Training

By Sue Wigston on July 17, 2018

Workplace health and safety training is required for good reason. In addition to keeping employees healthy, preventing incidents also keeps the bottom line healthy. OSHA has reported that lost productivity from injuries and illnesses costs companies $60 billion each year. Being proactive about preventing safety incidents and investing in safety training can help your organization save on workers’ compensation claims, avoid lost productivity, and create a safer work environment for employees.  

Although health and safety training might feel like another mandatory thing to do, it’s critical to make it engaging for your participants so they truly understand the importance of the content. Consider these three ways to revolutionize health and safety training in your organization.

1. Make It Engaging

Safety training doesn’t always have to be someone talking at participants. While it’s important to convey certain key points, how you deliver them makes a difference. Lecture-based training has one of the lowest retention rates of the various training approaches. With a topic as important as safety, don’t you want to use a training method that produces better results?

Creating an immersive experience that also teaches valuable lessons is often much more powerful than a classroom lecture. Experiential learning uses metaphors to teach large concepts such as accountability, teamwork, and empowerment. In these training sessions, participants have the opportunity to test different scenarios and see what works, what doesn’t, and how their behaviors affect outcomes. What’s truly fantastic about this training methodology is that while they are immersed in the scenario, participants don’t realize they are learning something new, which makes the experience that much more authentic.

In the context of health and safety, you can use experiential learning to demonstrate that individual actions have a significant impact on other people and the business as a whole. While experiential learning isn’t necessarily appropriate for all training sessions, when you start with a foundation of conviction and accountability, other types of training will carry more weight because participants will recognize why it’s important.

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2. Make It Memorable

When using experiential learning to deliver an engaging lesson, it’s critical to link it to the actual challenges that participants face on the job through a debrief led by an experienced facilitator. After going through some scenarios where people see how their decisions around health and safety have ripple effects, the scenarios get linked back to real life with a discussion on how what they just learned can be applied on the job. This connection makes the training more memorable and motivates participants to apply what they learned to their day-to-day work.   

3. Liven Up the Lingo

Create a shared language during the experience that people can use to quickly highlight potential safety issues when they arise. Use these terms and phrases through experiential learning so that when they come up in real life, they create an immediate emotional reaction. The shared element is critical because without the context of a shared experience, the words are not as meaningful.

Conviction Is Key

When employees have a visceral experience that demonstrates the importance of creating a safe work environment, they gain a new sense of conviction. You don’t get this to the same extent from many traditional training methods. The conviction generated during experiential learning carries over to their behaviors in the workplace and ultimately teaches participants their roles in a culture of safety.

Safety and compliance training is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be the same-old approach that many expect. To revolutionize your health and safety efforts, create an engaging, memorable, shared experience that participants can continue drawing from long after the training session has been completed.   

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As Chief Operating Officer, Sue's extensive senior leadership experience and facilitation skills have established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert. She has a proven track record of successfully leading culture transformation in Fortune 500 companies and has established herself as an authority on training and development. Sue has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed solutions for Eagle's Flight.

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Founded in 1988, Eagle's Flight has earned its reputation as a global leader in the development and delivery of business-relevant, experiential learning programs that achieve specific training objectives and lasting behavior changes.

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