9 key factors to consider when designing worker training programs
By Joanna Weekes
Remember, the person providing the training should have experience or expertise in the areas in which they are training your workers. In most cases, competent officers, supervisors or managers within your business can provide workplace training.
Training should be tailored to the specific needs of your workplace and anything that may pose a health and safety risk to your workers must be addressed.
Are you providing your workers with sufficient health and safety training?
Depending on the nature of your business, your workers may require training in:
- First aid;
- Health and safety policies;
- Accident and emergency procedures;
- Handling hazardous chemicals;
- Correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE);
- How to safely operate equipment and machinery;
- Manual handling, e.g. how to safely lift heavy objects;
- Any high-risk activities, e.g. working at heights;
- Bullying, discrimination and harassment policies, i.e. how to treat other staff with respect and how to report any inappropriate behaviour;
- Health effects of noise exposure;
- Working in confined spaces; and
- Any area of work that requires specific qualifications or licensing to perform, e.g. driving heavy vehicles.
9 key issues to consider when designing training programs
Your workers also need to be trained in the internal policies, procedures and practices that apply in your business and should be formally inducted into these when they join the company. Refresher training should be carried out when a change is made or a policy revised.
When you are putting together a program to train your workers, you need to consider any factors that may affect the decisions you make around the training.
Looking at the following factors will help you to determine how you need to put together the training session:
- The type of work being carried out;
- The nature of the risks associated with the work;
- What control measures are in place at the workplace;
- The qualifications and experience of the worker;
- The work environment, e.g. what other hazards exist in the workplace;
- The equipment and materials necessary to undertake the training; and
- The period of time before a refresher course will be needed.
What about inductions?
An induction introduces a new worker to their new role and to your business.
It’s essential the new workers are inducted into your business by:
- Explaining the worker’s specific role and requirements;
- Explaining how the worker’s job fits into the business’s operations;
- Describing your products or services;
- Explaining who your clients or customers are;
- Introducing the worker to the workplace by showing them the physical layout of the workplace, including facilities such as staff kitchen and toilets;
- Explaining basic work requirements, including how to log onto computers, how to use the phones and where stationery is kept;
- Detailing the safe work practices that are relevant to the worker’s role; and
- Explaining how health and safety is managed in the workplace.
Provide new workers with copies of the policies and procedures that govern your business and make sure they sign a form to confirm they have read and understood each policy and procedure.
Make sure your workers are aware of all potential safety and health risks within your business and know how to respond to them.
And don’t forget that workers returning from extended leave may need refresher training or close supervision while they are adjusting back into the workplace.
For information about the most effective type of training method, you can use, see chapter Training and Induction in the Health & Safety Handbook.
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