I have witnessed far too many companies want high production, but aren’t willing to spend the money to make the money. What I mean is that they give the minimum training and they aren’t willing to pay for marketing to bring the customers in (or the marketing is minimal). The excuses are unlimited, and they are just that – excuses, especially when it comes to new and additional training for employees.
- “We can’t afford to pull employees out of the field/off the floor for additional training”
- “We don’t have the resources [budget or personnel] to provide more training”
- “It’s the employee’s job to ask for training”
- “We’ve provided enough training – they don’t need any more”
- “We need production [to make money] and not training”
The excuses are endless and quite ridiculous, in my opinion. If a business wants to grow (which really is the purpose of being in business) they must provide ongoing employee training – for legal compliance if nothing else. This is especially true when it comes to safety training.
As companies look for ways to decrease work-related injury and illness claims (which can save the company thousands, if not millions of dollars – depending on the company and incident), safety training should be at the forefront of employee training. The federal government has passed many laws and regulations in regard to safety training that are specific to each industry because of the different hazards in different industries. This is where a company can receive increasingly strict penalties (very heavily in some cases) for not complying with safety training of employees, especially by OSHA, who is charged with ensuring employee safety and that the laws and regulations are followed.
There are countless regulations that OSHA has created to ensure employee safety. These laws are either by industry, or they apply to every industry, or if there isn’t a specific law for that ‘one thing you aren’t sure about’ they have a General Duty Clause that encompasses everything else to ensure a workplace free from hazards that could cause serious bodily harm or even death to an employee.
Again, each industry is different because the hazards are different. No matter the industry, every employee must receive safety training when hired and then at least once every three years as a refresher. Do not just hand the employee a safety manual and tell them to read it – conduct the training in-person. Here are a few of the topics that should be considered for safety training:
Emergency Action Plan – all employees must be trained on the company’s emergency action plan. The employer must choose and train specific employees to assist in the event of an emergency.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – this is especially important. Each employee must be trained on how to put PPE on properly. I know a company that was penalized $18,000 because one employee was not properly trained on how to put the protective jacket and gloves on. If your employees must use a respirator, the must be re-trained every year.
Hazards– training must be conducted on each type of hazards that are present in the facilities (i.e. fire, chemicals, etc.). The training should include what the hazard is, how to handle the item or chemical, and what to do in the case of a fire, spill, etc.
Asbestos – if employees are exposed to any form of asbestos at or above the permissible exposure limit, or if known asbestos is in or around the building, employees must be trained on how to handle this exposure and what safety gear is to be worn.
Check with OSHA to determine what training must be conducted and when for your industry. This is the best way to remain in compliance and avoid being penalized.
OSHA offers numerous training courses and educational materials to help educate employers and employees with the hazards in their workplace. Knowledge and implementation of key components are key to reducing safety risks in the workplace. There are other private sector companies that also offer safety trainings for employers and employees.