A simple, yet powerful technique to improve the effectiveness of your safety training

by | Jan 14, 2017 | Training

If safety training in your company focuses mostly on hazards and things to avoid, then the training participants may end up with an inaccurate understanding of the risk. You can further improve your training by using the technique described below.

Researchers from the University of Sidney [1] demonstrated that when driving classes included examples of ONLY safe driving, the participants were more likely to drive faster and make risky maneuvers BECAUSE they underestimated the risks.

However, if the same training included examples of both: safe AND unsafe driving, the students developed a more accurate understanding of dangers and as a result drove more safely.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (USA) [2] demonstrated  how students that were trained with examples of only unsafe conditions, led to an overestimation of risk and misunderstanding of what behaviors they should demonstrate.

In conclusion, students developed the most accurate understanding of hazards and risk if the training included both:
1. examples of hazards and unsafe behaviors
2. examples of safe conditions and safe behavior

Case study

An international company, specialized in providing online safety training solutions, reviewed their training content in light of the above-cited findings. By doing so, they
1. identified training modules which included only safe OR unsafe conditions but not both, and thus
2. updated the content.

For instance, when dealing with electrical hazards, it is best to include both safe and unsafe conditions, like the listed below.

Safe conditions and acts:
• the presence of extension cords with insulated wires
• wiring enclosed in panels or machinery
• the use of a ground fault circuit interrupter
• the use use of electrical tools in dry conditions

Unsafe conditions and acts:
• extension cords which are cut, frayed or without a grounding conductor
• exposed wiring
• the use of an overloaded outlet
• the use of electrical tools in damp conditions

 

Bibliography
[1] K. Ivancic IV and B. Hesketh, “Learning from errors in a driving simulation: Effects on driving skill and self-confidence,” Ergonomics, vol. 43, no. 12, pp. 1966–1984, 2000.[2] M. A. Taylor, O. Wirth, M. Olvina, and A. M. Alvero, “Experimental analysis of using examples and non-examples in safety training,” J. Safety Res., vol. 59, pp. 97–104, 2016.

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