The Importance of Safety Education and Training in the Workplace
Safety education generally refers to both the theoretical teaching and practical application of safety awareness to an employee. The theory is primarily concerned with the basic knowledge required by employees to perform their jobs safely. Safety education teaches the worker to make correct judgments in response to workplace hazards by providing the worker with critical information, facts, and situations relating to the potential hazard. This information empowers the worker to avoid hazards so that he or she is not injured or killed. Such training also enables the worker to recognize and report hazards as soon as they occur.
Safety training, on the other hand, entails a detailed application of the knowledge learned in safety meetings. It usually involves at least one day of classroom instruction, one or more safety meetings, and fieldwork. Fieldwork may involve a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job activities, such as using a tool belt to aid safe work or performing an activity referred to as abseiling. Safe work practices in the workplace may be taught through written materials, but most training courses require that employees learn the skills in an actual setting through actual hands-on application. After all, safety training should make employees aware of what they are doing and why.
Some companies offer safety education programs, courses, and workshops as part of their employee benefits and/or as part of the company incentive program. However, some companies still require employees to attend safety education sessions as part of their employment benefits and as a condition of promotion, reclassification, or layoff. Employees who need reification or who wish to switch jobs often find that their companies mandate safety education as part of their initial offer or as a condition for advancement. In addition, some companies provide paid training for current employees after they have been hired. These training sessions can last from a few days to a few weeks and are often provided after the new hire has been hired.
Most safety training is typically offered in areas where work is located. The training may be at the worksite or at the place of employment, but it usually is given at one of two locations: in an area where there is a special safety training program in place or in an off-site or facility that is designed to hold training in specific areas of safety. For example, many construction sites require workers to complete a certain amount of training in the use of backhoes and heavy equipment before they are allowed to perform the job. Workplaces like warehouses, retail stores, fast food restaurants, movie theaters, and other places where equipment is used frequently require workers to take a course on using that equipment. Off-site training facilities are commonly provided by fire departments, ambulance services, police services, mining companies, and other employers who have developed close relationship with their local law enforcement agencies.
When safety education and training are mandated by a workplace safety management plan, there are many businesses that can benefit from the training. For example, if the plan requires that employees undergo a certain number of hours of safety training each year, a business that has a safety training program could save a significant amount of money by not having to pay for the training. Businesses that want to do well on OSHA licensing examinations may also benefit by taking part in the safety education and training requirements.
In general, employers that offer employees ongoing safety education and training are more likely to provide better safety conditions at their workplace. Employees tend to feel safer knowing that their employer is supporting their efforts to stay safe. Also, the increased knowledge gives workers an incentive to take part in other types of training and safety education programs that are conducted outside of the workplace. More people are choosing jobs that allow them to participate in these training programs, which makes workplaces more safe overall.