Today we have a guest post from Ingunn, who writes about Safety Training in Norwich.
I am often asked for advice on safety training and successfully delivering effective safe working practices and policies in the workplace. It is a subject many managers and business owners face with dread, and they often want me to suggest ways of making the whole process of health and safety training less, well, painful.
Many people I know who have to provide work place health and safety training often try to make light of the subject, offering up funny anecdotes of professional mishaps or punchy little slogans or puns such as “Ladder safety has its ups and downs” or “Remember: a good health and safety officer never makes mistakes”.
But I’m sure you have noticed the problem with these pithy approaches; the distinct humour vacuum of health and safety. This approach utterly fails because health and safety is anything but funny – it is no laughing matter, never mind the number of poorly constructed jokes you can come up with.
Yes you might find it hilarious to indulge in schadenfreude on YouTube, watching videos of people falling over and making asses of themselves through carelessness or idiocy. But for a health and safety officer it’s just painful to watch.
Take the recent video filmed in Norwich during Britain’s recent cold snap, when chaos descended upon the whole country. The video was filmed in the same spot of a particularly icy bridge and made it onto the national news as well as going viral on social media sites. It highlights the need for safety training in Norwich, but should also be a requirement for the whole population.
Often I find the best approach for safety training that sharpens the mind is honesty. Nothing motivates you more than knowing what an industrial saw does to the human hand and how that might look. I often relate the story of when I saw a chef set herself on fire attempting a piece of reckless flambéing. Once you have seen someone get hurt in a certain way you will remember to take care not to make the same mistakes again. This does not mean that health and safety training should involve inflicting anyone pain or discomfort, but video is a good tool in order to highlight lack of previous training. This will allow the participants on the course to see for themselves how wrong things can go if you do not take care.
Health and safety training will never be fun, it should never be dumbed down or made “easy”. If you run a business or are a manager it is your responsibility to get your staff up to speed.