SafetyWatch: Is your safety and health management plan effective?

October 12, 2020 -  By
Person filling out checklist (Photo: Charday Penn/E+/Getty Images)

Photo: Charday Penn/E+/Getty Images

Over the past two editions, I’ve discussed the planning and implementing phases of an effective safety and health management plan.

(Editor’s Note: Read Part 1 and Part 2 now.)

This final edition covers how to ensure the program is effective. In other words, has employees’ safety knowledge increased, and do their worksite behaviors positively reflect that improved knowledge level?

Let’s look at some useful evaluation methods.

Step 1: To determine how much your workers know about safe work habits, give them a brief pretest just before the training session begins. For example, if you’re going to present tailgate training on hearing protection, ask a question or two about workplace equipment or machinery that generates excessive noise levels; how these levels are calculated in decibels; and what safety gear can be worn to reduce human exposure to excessive occupational noise. If possible, keep a record of the pretest responses to compare to test responses after the training has been completed. Just like the training materials, pre- and post-test written sheets must be understandable to all workers.

Step 2: Present training and briefings to employees. Ensure the training materials are in a language that all workers can understand. Trainers may need to work individually with crew members who have difficulty translating and understanding the safety principles.

Step 3: Once you have presented the training, get post-test responses to the same knowledge-based questions that you asked before the training session. If the post-tests do not indicate improvement, retraining may be required.

Step 4: If the post-tests indicate improved understanding about the safety topic, you can reinforce the effectiveness measures by conducting workplace observations. One of the company commitments you have for worker safety is to provide them with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as earmuffs or ear plugs in a hearing protection area.

For example, if during a visit to a commercial mowing site, you notice one of your zero-turn operators is not wearing hearing protection, you have several options. Safely signal the operator to stop the machine and remind him or her about the excessive noise PPE requirements; have the crew manager reinforce the requirement for PPE; and consider retraining of the employee.

Sam Steel, NALP

Sam Steel

If the safety training fails because of the training site or trainer, go back to the planning and implementing stages to make changes for increasing your program’s effectiveness.

Sam Steel, Ed.D., is the safety adviser for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

This article is tagged with , and posted in From the Magazine, October 2020

Comments are currently closed.