Safety training is often not on the priority list when it comes to new, or even long-term employees. All too often businesses focus on job training and how to get things done appropriately and efficiently but leave the actual safety training for later. Here are what I consider the top three reasons to provide safety training and to move it up on the priority list.
Number 1: An accident can happen anytime a worker enters your employ. It could happen while they are doing their “job training.” Have you been to an event or conference where right from the start they take a moment to explain where the exits are, the safety protocols and the muster points? Perhaps you’ve been on a job site where they insisted you wear a safety helmet and vest. Safety starts at the beginning — not six months down the road. New employees will often feel either in awe or overwhelmed by the prospect of the new job, but this can lead to mistakes and mistakes can lead to injury. WorkSafe BC has a Young Workers Program for just such reasons. “Safety First” matters to all ages.
Number 2: Safety training for an employee can extend beyond just that one employee. The work he or she is doing could impact many more individuals. If the worker is dealing with hazardous chemicals, gasses or hydrocarbons, a mistake may put much more people at risk.
Another often overlooked aspect of training is protecting or mitigating any potential damage to the environment. A good safety course with an experienced trainer will have a focus on both prevention and after-an-incident action. Prevention speaks for itself. Stopping something from threatening the safety of people and our environment. Proper training for incident action will mean that the chances of mitigating or even stopping potential damage to the environment, are now a possibility. How many times have we seen or read about accidents where, with the right training and right equipment, the damage done to the environment could have been prevented.
Number 3: The bottom line. The financial picture. The risk to the Company’s status and reputation. Safety Training is an investment that poses huge returns. Some folks like to use the words “potential returns” but they are only thinking of the cost savings associated with an actual incident like clean-up costs, fines, etc.
Proper safety training may go unnoticed as workers, understanding the risks and hazards, go about their daily work making sure that accidents or incidents do not occur. In my view, this makes the return on investment ongoing and immediate, not potential. Outside of the moral or ethical reasons to have workers trained, businesses will save money in the long run.
OK, I’m going to throw in a number 4: It’s the law. WorkSafe BC and their cousins in other provinces have put in place a series of laws, rules, and guidelines to help employers protect their employees and the public from danger. Make sure you understand all the rules around Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees. Do your homework on the training you are and should be providing to your employees.
In our case, BC Hazmat Management trainers are also responders. They know the risks and they have the experience and stories to really connect with the people they are training. If your employees don’t remember the training, or if it’s not comprehensive enough, it’s kind of like having a seatbelt in your truck BUT NOT USING IT! If BC Hazmat Management is not offering a public course at the time you need it, then please inquire about on-site training for your people. Get the right training, at the right time and taught by the right people.
WorkSafe BC 2016 Key Statistic – Young workers injuries (age 15–24) = 6,650 (13% of total injuries)