Much of your employees' day-to-day safety relies on them receiving comprehensive, on-going training. Even with cutting edge safety software and top-of-the-line protective equipment, your employees won't be as safe as they could be if they have not been properly trained.
With so much riding on your organization's safety training program, it's worth considering how you could benefit from a permanent, in-house trainer.
Benefits of Having an In-House Safety Trainer
There are many benefits to hiring a permanent safety trainer instead of relying on the services of a firm or contractor. Here are six of them.
Safety rules and procedures are most effective when they are consistently reinforced. Having an in-house trainer for your business means always having someone available to provide that reinforcement. From regularly scheduled refresher training sessions right down to the toolbox talks at the start of every shift, an in-house trainer can make sure that safety is always top of mind!
(For related reading, see 6 Things to Consider When Planning Toolbox Talks.)
Alignment with Your Safety Objectives
Investing in an in-house trainer means that you are working with someone who fully understands your organization's vision, mission, and objectives. They can become more than just a trainer; they can become a valued member of your management team.
This will enhance your organization's ability to reach its safety objectives. An external trainer will likely spend their time devising ways to improve their training methods, while an in-house trainer will also be looking for ways to align their training initiatives with your specific targeted safety outcomes.
(For advice on what kind of outcomes you should aim for, see Key EHS Performance Indicators Every Organization Needs to Track.)
We've all had to sit through training sessions and meetings that don't speak to the day-to-day realities of our work. You can't expect workers to give these kinds of sessions their full attention or to really feel that the information they're receiving is important.
In other words, irrelevant training isn't just boring; it's ineffective.
With an in-house trainer, you can be sure that every aspect of the program or module is relevant to the kinds of hazards, tasks, and challenges your employees actually encounter in the performance of their work. While an external trainer may take the time to observe and evaluate the work being performed, they simply won't have the time to fully understand the problems your workers face nor be able to offer that kind of fine-grained customization.
With access to real-time data compiled and analyzed using contemporary HSE reporting systems, in-house trainers can create short training segments or brief refresher sessions in line with the immediate safety needs of the business.
New regulations, shifts in the corporate mission, upgraded equipment, job sites with new hazards, and near misses that can be turned into teachable moments are all opportunities for re-training. Not only can a permanent trainer respond to these needs immediately, but they will also save you the time-consuming and costly process of searching for an appropriate trainer, arranging for their travel and accommodation, and possibly holding training sessions at inconvenient times.
We have a natural tendency to be more receptive to people we are familiar with and to have an immediate distrust of outsiders. Having a trainer who is also a member of the team makes them a familiar face to your employees and allows you to bypass worker resistance and skepticism, which will ultimately improve the rate of safety buy-in.
(Still experiencing resistance? Try out these 7 Superb Psychological Tactics for EHS Training.)
Moreover, hiring a permanent trainer doesn't just build trust in the trainer; it also builds trust in the organization. Keeping a trainer on staff shows your employees that you are truly committed to their safety.
Quality and Consistency
A customized, focused training program that is consistent from start to finish – from on-boarding to refreshers and quick reminders – is a high-quality training program. That kind of consistency ensures that all employees are kept focused on a single, unwavering standard for safety. And that is a worthwhile investment.
Applications for Small Businesses
If you're running a smaller business, you may not have the budget to keep a permanent trainer on staff. But that doesn't mean you can't apply some of the same principles to strengthen your training program.
For one thing, you can reap some of these benefits by working with the same trainer for each session. Having a go-to trainer ensures some degree of consistency, customization, and alignment with your organization's goals. If possible, hire a trainer who is available to respond in real time as your training needs arise.
Building a good relationship with a trainer will also give you a solid foundation if your organization ever grows. If your business and budget eventually allow you to hire a permanent trainer, your go-to trainer will let you hit the ground running.
Rethink Safety Training
The traditional way of looking at safety training is to see it as something occasional and infrequent. You may train new employees; offer training sessions when big, important changes take place; and throw in the occasional refresher training but there is a growing awareness that this just doesn't cut it anymore.
It's time to rethink safety training. It needs to be a feature of our day-to-day business operations. And there is no better way to make that happen than by hiring a permanent, in-house trainer.