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October 16, 2006
Do I Need to Customize Outside Training Materials?

Outside safety training materials offer many advantages. They provide:

  • Well-organized lesson plans prepared by professionals who understand adult learning and are experts in the particular field of knowledge covered by the training
  • Cost-effective training for any number of employees with the purchase of a single training program
  • Relief for overworked supervisors who don't have to carry the added burden of creating training materials themselves
  • Consistent and accurate safety training throughout the organization

But there's one thing they can't do. They can't tell your employees about the unique safety information specific to your workplace--essential information that employees need to know in order to protect

Why It Matters...
  • To capture and retain the attention of trainees, safety training has to be meaningful and teach specific, practical information that employees can actually use.
  • For training to be transferred effectively from the classroom or computer to the job, it must relate to an employee's experience in real-life work situations.
  • OSHA regulations target specific hazards, operations, materials, procedures, etc., which means your safety training must focus on the specifics of your workplace as well.

themselves on the job and comply with OSHA regulations.

Customizing greatly increases value. Customizing training materials allows you to focus on safety issues specific to your organization and specific to certain groups of trainees. For example, through customizing an off-the-shelf training program, you can highlight:

  • Specific hazards in your workplace
  • Your safety policies and procedures
  • Detailed procedures for safe operation of equipment and processes in your facility
  • Proper handling of materials and substances used and stored in the workplace
  • PPE employees are required to use and the circumstances in which they must wear it
  • Required written plans and programs, such as your emergency plan and hazard communication program
  • Other safety programs, such as safety incentive programs and suggestion programs
  • Special events recognized in your organization, such as designated safety weeks and months, and special initiatives, such as safety and health awareness campaigns
  • References to job aids and manuals where employees can find additional information about safety rules and procedures
  • Updates on regulatory or company rule changes, new safety information, etc.

Customizing doesn't have to be hard or time-consuming to be effective. For example, you can easily insert company-specific information into standard training materials through:

  • Handouts
  • Samples of materials, equipment, PPE, etc., used in your facility
  • Pictures from around your facility illustrating specific safety issues
  • Group discussions
  • Demonstrations
  • Hands-on practice
  • Problem-solving
  • Reviews of workplace accidents and near misses
  • Guest speakers (company personnel or outside experts)
Featured Special Report:
12 Ways to Boost Workplace Safety
   
   
 
 
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