How effective is your safety training program? You know training is required by federal or state regulations, but does occupational health and safety training really result in fewer employee injuries and illnesses?
The jury may be out. Researchers so far have not found enough evidence showing that training and education are clearly effective, but it can be difficult for researchers to focus their studies exclusively on the impact of training. Much of the existing research does not even consider desired outcomes like fewer accidents, injuries or illnesses, and fatalities. Training usually is just one element among many factors in a workplace safety and health management program.
Researchers do have strong evidence that training and education positively affect worker behavior.
Remember, too, that many of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standards contain training requirements. Enforcement personnel will cite employers for violations of training requirements and usually propose penalties for violations.
You also should keep in mind that safety training is not “one and done.” Audits, a strong safety culture, safety meetings, and walkarounds can reinforce training.
Training alone may not translate into fewer injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released reviews of training effectiveness research in 1998 and 2010. The 1998 review concluded training does positively affect workplace health and safety. Later researchers questioned NIOSH’s conclusions, and in 2006, the institute began a new review.
The review issued in 2010 looked at 14 randomized studies of training effectiveness. The reviewers found strong evidence that training affects worker safety and health behavior, including behavior regarding ergonomic hazards. They reviewers found, however, that published studies could not clearly demonstrate or disprove training leads to a reduction in injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.
NIOSH researchers pointed out there is a need for high-quality randomized trials examining the effectiveness of occupational safety and health training. Regardless of the lack of proof of the effectiveness of training, OSHA and state plan states have specific training requirements in their occupational safety and health standards.Source: EHS Dailyadvisor