3 Ways to Improve your Safety Training Program
Does your safety training program make your operators and pedestrians safer, more efficient and more productive while still complying with OSHA requirements? If not, you’re program could use an update. Take a look at these three ways you can improve your safety training.
1. Don't Exclusively Use Online Training
Many companies choose to use online training as part of their operator safety program due to its low cost and easy accessibility compared to a full-time trainer or hiring a consultant. However we caution you not to make it your entire safety training program. Without supplementing your online courses with hands-on, practical training, your operators won’t have the knowledge or skill to safely and efficiently operate their equipment.
Additionally, online-only or video-only training is not compliant with OSHA requirements which clearly state that operator safety training must be both lecture and practical and has to include site-specific information.
If purchasing online training courses is essential for your safety training program there are many quality courses that can be purchased from reputable sources. We recommend supplementing any online training courses with in-person training that includes site-specific information and hands-on operator safety training.
While reputable online sources for safety training may not be easy to find, questionable courses are a dime a dozen. Be wary of statements like: “100% Online Training!” and “Guaranteed Certificate in 1 Hour!” Using these courses could result in unsafe working conditions which may turn into fines and legal liabilities so make sure to research any online courses thoroughly before relying on it to train your operators.
2. Don’t skip the post-certification evaluations and refresher training
Your operators have completed their initial training, passed their evaluation and been certified, what else could OSHA require? That’s right, more evaluations.
Subsequent evaluations must be completed every three years after the initial training. They might be a pain, but they’re crucial to identifying if your employees are operating their forklift in an unsafe manner. Evaluations are also a good time to determine if your employees are operating in the most efficient and productive way possible.
Choose whichever form of evaluation suites your company best:
- Discussion with the employee
- Written documentation of previous training
- Performance testing
- Observation of the employee
If your evaluation reveals that your employee is operating the forklift in an unsafe manner, they’ll need to complete refresher training.
Other reasons refresher training might be necessary include:
- if the employee was involved in an accident or a near-miss incident
- if the employee was assigned to operate a different kind of forklift
- if conditions in the workplace have changed which affect the safe operation of their forklift
Skipping post-certification evaluations and refresher training can result in unsafe working conditions, accidents and liabilities so take care to diligently evaluate your employees for safe operation.
3. Make sure you provide pedestrian safety training
OSHA doesn’t specifically require your company to provide pedestrian safety training, however preserving a workplace free of recognized risks and hazards is prescribed by the OSHA General Duty Clause.
Since workers on foot being struck by a forklift represent about 20 percent of fatalities from forklift-related incidents, it’s clear that pedestrians should be trained too.
Adding pedestrian safety training to your safety program can be as simple as covering common hazards around forklifts and safe practices that must be followed near forklift operation. Ideally your pedestrian safety protocols won’t stop at training but will continue to a traffic safety plan, clearly marked pedestrian walkways with railings or barriers, warning signs and more.
Assess Your Current Training
These are just a few of the more common ways your safety training could be lacking. Now it’s time to assess your current safety training program and determine if changes need to be made.
Transforming your safety program isn’t easy, read more on implementing forklift operator and pedestrian safety training.