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Choosing Safety, Simplified

Choosing Safety - Why it matters


All employers have a legal responsibility to educate their employees on all workplace safety standards and any (and all) hazards that their staff could encounter while on the job. 'Training' covers a huge range of topics, but give consideration to the following:


•Promotion of Safety and Accident Prevention

•Safe work habits & compliance with safety requirements/regulations

•Employee engagement/involvement & Safety Culture

•First Aid or other emergency response (method of response, timeliness, etc.)

•Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

•WHMIS/chemical or hazardous materials at work

•Environmental and workplace hazards

Any effective training programme should have many benefits for the employer and for the staff. Some of the benefits which could be anticipated are:


•Reduce worker injury, illness and death

•Reduce sick time or time off from work

•Influence your exposure to legal liability

•Reduce damage to worksite or property

•Make everyone generally more healthy and happy!


Remember to document and record staff training - a training matrix can help with this.

Choosing Safety


So how do you decide what training is needed and by whom? You could of course buy every possible course for every staff member, but this would prove expensive! Try the following approach instead.


•Assess needs

•Determine staff skills & knowledge

•Find gaps

•Implement training


1. Assess Needs


The first step is actually to decide what you need for your worksite. Local legislation will guide you, as will some of our later articles and your own common sense. If you run a roofing company, our ladder and falls prevention courses may be just right - blood borne pathogens in healthcare would probably be less beneficial. Start by deciding exactly what courses you need, and write down a list. If you're not even sure of what's available, our online training site may be just the place to visit. You can browse through every course we offer and read a little about each one without having to commit to anything (or even register, looking is free!)


One way to help think about this would be to break down your training into categories appropriate for your worksite. Try the following:


Basics: Most worksites will need some sort of First Aid training, WHMIS is commonly required for all staff annually, Fire Safety may be appropriate. Consider training on PPE (personal protective equipment) and Hazard Assessment.


People Issues: Once you have the basics noted down, move on to consider your staff themselves. Do you need driver training? Is Drug & Alcohol training necessary? What about Cultural Awareness in the workplace?

OK, by now you should have started to develop a list of the safety training you need. If your worksite is big enough, consider getting someone else to do the same exercise and see if you agree. (Hint: if you want to develop that Safety Culture and get employee buy-in, why not get everyone involved in this decision?)

2. Determine Staff Skills & Knowledge


Step 2 acknowledges that your staff may already have had training, with you or elsewhere. Make sure that the training is appropriate to their current job and is in date, but no need to reinvent the wheel. If the training is appropriate and in date, then it's good enough. If not, move on to step 3.



3. Find Gaps


You now have a list of what training staff need from step 1, and what training each person has from step 2. Finding the gaps should now be easy! Once you have a training matrix in place, it will become really very easy.



4. Implement the Training & Repeat


Sign up for courses in person, register for and take courses on line, read books, etc. Do whatever is needed to fill the gaps found in step 3 and meet legislative requirements. Remember the training certification will probably have an expiry date - repeat training as needed to keep staff up to date.

5. Document


Record who did what and when (see part two). Also remember to record when the training certificate expires or when updates/renewal is needed. We recommend you actually put this in the worksite calendar so that you can plan. If you don't have one, maybe a training calendar or diary could help keep staff up to date and avoid legislative issues for you.

Environmental Issues: Safety training will not save the planet, but it will save your staff. Do they work in an area where they need bear awareness? What about Electrical Safety in your environment? Is there something in the warehouse/stores environment that puts them at risk for back injury? Think of the whole work environment; do not just dismiss this as 'trees' or 'something for outside people'.


Equipment Issues: We have a whole lot of courses on these topics, because there could be many different issues: Forklifts, Chainsaws, Ladders, Slinging & Rigging, Hydraulics, etc. You know your job site better than we do - what issues do staff need training on?


Transport Issues: Last on our list - do staff transport goods, or drive on behalf of the company? It may not be enough to say they have a clean licence. Find out if anything else is needed - Transportation of Dangerous Goods? Winter Driving? 4-Wheel Drive