How to engage employees in safety trainingNov 13, 2019
On October 28 and 29, the Center for Health, Work & Environment attended and served on the planning committee for the Rocky Mountain Safety Conference. The annual event, hosted by the Colorado Safety Association, brought together over 100 safety professionals in the region and focused on safety training based on a core driving principle of Total Worker Health® (TWH) – human engagement. TWH is rooted in the practice of approaching employees as more than just workers, but as human beings rooted in dignity, allowing safety professionals to seek the comprehensive health of the worker as a whole person.
Here are a few highlights from the conference – we hope you find them helpful and that they inspire you in your pursuit of TWH through safety training.
Get personal (or comical)
This year’s program featured guest speakers who collectively emphasized the importance of engaging with your audience when conducting workplace safety trainings. They recommended connecting with safety training participants through empathy or humor. Personal stories of impact, comical anecdotes, and general moments of authenticity act as memorable magnets that attract the safety lessons in a learner’s mind. Drawing an emotional (moving, funning, surprising) connection during a lesson makes it far more likely that your audience will remember what they’ve been taught, and more importantly, implement the training in their behavior.
Train like a ninja
Know your employees (and their drugs)
Aligning with the overall theme of human engagement, our team learned in a breakout session how to approach drug use in the workplace. As a general practice for not only supporting your employees, but also being able to better maintain a drug-safe workplace, our speakers suggested forming authentic, consistent relationships with employees. These relationships will allow you to recognize patterns or changes in behavior related to signs of substance use. Paired with these relationships, the speakers also recommended organizations establish a drug/alcohol policy as well as have managers take courses better equipping them to notice signs of inebriation or drug use.
Fight fatigue on all levels
As part of our service on the planning committee for this event, we teamed up with our partners at Colorado State University to bring in Rebecca Brossoit, a PhD student whose research focuses on employee sleep and fatigue. Rebecca discussed the importance of sleep and the impact that it can have on everyday life, including work performance (as employees who do not get enough sleep are more prone to injury on the job). Rebecca took a holistic approach to addressing worker fatigue by highlighting ways to improve sleep at the employee, organizational, and federal/state levels. Some examples include:
- Employee-level: Encourage employees to establish a relaxing bedtime routine, designate the bedroom as a place for only sleeping, and limit blue light after dark.
- Organizational-level: Provide employees flexible work schedules (considering that commuting equates to working) and reduce the need for technology use during non-work hours.
- Federal/state level: Pursue more attainable healthcare for workers, enabling them to address other health issues that may be impacting their sleep, and
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