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:

  • Electrical signReduce 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.

  1. Assess needs
  2. Determine staff skills & knowledge
  3. Find gaps
  4. Implement training
  5. Repeat

1. Assess Your (Staff, Company, Own) Needs

The first step is actually to decide what you need for your worksite. Local legislation will guide you, as will some of our 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. (We’ve tried to do this in our menu above.) 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?

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…

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?)

Start recording everything!

Read part 2 of this article

Just get some training

About Tony Howarth

Tony is a First Aid & CPR Instructor Trainer with Sea 2 Sky Safety Training Services and the company founder. Tony started with the British Red Cross in 1994. Has acted as first aid attendant for hundreds of events & treated many hundreds of people as a result. He is experienced in training a wide range of courses. He previously worked as an ambulance attendant with the British Red Cross. He is now in BC as a first aid instructor, and an instructor trainer (one who trains others to become instructors) Finally, Tony works at UBC Hospital as a pharmacist when not busy training safety
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