9 Tips On Training And Engaging Employees In Health And Safety
Health & Safety Training Tips
Health and safety is essential for every business, especially those that involve blue-collar workers.
There’s no doubt that while white-collar workers are often in the office setting (or working from home), blue-collar workers are subject to various work environments including warehouses, the outdoors, workshops, etc.
So, with various factors to consider, there must be a way to train blue-collar employees in health and safety – learning the risks, and knowing what to do.
In this article, we’ll show you 9 tips on how you and your company can train your blue-collar workforce to be healthy and safe as they work:
1. Make Good Use Of Instruction Time
“Blue-collar employees need to have a training plan set in place in their companies,” says Jason Heyman, a health writer at Association of Health Care Journalists.
“However, training sessions should be worth everyone’s time. There’s no need to sugarcoat things. Be real with these employees, no matter what topic you and management cover with them. You should also keep your employees engaged, so that they don’t feel too bored during the sessions.”
Breaks should also be considered when holding these training sessions.
A great way to engage staff is to ask questions and get your people to share real-life examples.
What can industry experts teach their young coworkers?
Give them the first part of a phrase and ask them to continue: “I remember one time when…”
In short, your training session should look like this:
• Introduction (Welcoming employees to the session, clarify the WHY)
• Focus on key messages/themes
• Continue discussion
• Closing activity
Some people learn from theory, others respond to visual learning. Others need a more hands-on or practical approach.
Make sure to use different techniques.
Ask around if you’re new, or unsure what would best work in your company culture.
Remember that new employees might need to catch up on health and safety training you’ve provided in the past.
2. Talk About Privacy
Privacy is important to every employee in any industry – including blue-collar employees.
Even if blue-collar employees might be skeptical about sharing personal health data with their companies, you should still respect their privacy.
Give blue-collar employees options to either share personal health data, or to opt out of doing so.
Make each employee feel safe and respected in the workplace.
And, always be ready to help your employees with any health inquiries.
A guiding principle should be that if the information is not really necessary, then it shouldn’t be collected or disclosed.
Use common-sense transparency.
Lastly, ask questions to learn more about how management can help clarify privacy concerns.
3. Incorporate Simple Tech in Health And Safety Training
While there are many pieces of technology on the market (and in businesses) these days, blue-collar employees should be able to learn and utilize these devices.
So, during your training session, show employees how to properly use various devices (i.e., login portals, tech-based solutions, etc.) in a safe and ergonomic way.
You can do this by creating demos and walkthroughs for your presentation (or online webinar on shared screens).
4. Track Ideas
Ideas for health and safety training can come from anywhere in your company:
• Lounges (i.e., for lunch breaks)
• Company parking lots
• Restrooms, etc.
Keep track of all of these areas by logging the following:
• History of injuries and incidents
• Places that need health and safety optimizations
• Ways to prevent injuries and incidents, etc.
Make sure it’s super easy to log these events.
manageOr your employees just won’t report the incidents or fill in the form.
What training is required for health and safety?
Make sure you identify the proper courses needed for your business.
In order to comply with local law and regulations, you might need health and training for employees that work heights, first aid to respond to emergency situations based on your conditions (chemicals, heights, vehicles, harmful substances, etc).
Older employees, women, and migrant workers are at particular risk.
5. Focus On Convenience
Convenience should be a part of a blue-collar workforce’s workplace culture.
First, consider the unique needs of your blue-collar workers at your facility.
Afterwards, find effective activities that align well with their needs.
Such activities may include:
• Signs posted around the building to create an obstacle course
• Marked walking trails that show employees where to go (observe the area for a couple of minutes to see how employees currently use the trails. Do they make unsafe choices to reach their destination a few seconds faster? What can be done?)
• Login portals stationed at entrances
6. Talk About Housekeeping
Housekeeping is essential for everyone in the company.
That’s why blue-collar employees should be in the know, when it comes to creating a nice clean workplace.
This is essentially true for blue-collar workers who tackle tons of manual labor and large machines, because they’re most likely to run into health and safety issues (i.e. haphazard, slips and falls, etc.).
Many companies that have embraced lean principles have not applied those principles to the cleaning process.
7. Work Health And Safety Into Workplace Culture
The workplace culture is the most crucial part of a business.
All employees – including blue-collar ones – want to be happy with the company that they work for.
That’s why the workplace culture needs to be fulfilling.
That means incorporating health and safety, making it the central fixture in the company.
Both for shop floor workers and for management.
One way to do this is to create labels that serve as gentle reminders for employees to prevent common hazards (i.e., slips and falls).
Another way is to create fun posters that educate employees on how to work safely.
Actually, another fun angle is to use themes like Safety Breakfasts where you bring up examples of employees who did something RIGHT.
For example, you could highlight a recent behaviour from an employee that avoided an accident or incident.
Again, catch someone doing something right.
Try to avoid focusing too much on what people are doing wrong.
8. Talk About Mental Health
Over the years, mental health has been put into perspective, and has been examined.
With emotional well-being at the forefront of workplace culture these days, it’s important to talk about it when training your employees.
Yes, things can be challenging for all employees, particularly for blue-collar workers.
A 2019 study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) suggests that while blue-collar men are more susceptible to depression than white-collar men, blue-collar women have it worse than their male counterparts.
So, be sure to offer ways for workers to seek mental health resources whenever they need it.
You as a manager play an important role in making sure the mental health of your employees is looked after.
What early detection systems do you in have in place?
Chronic work stress leads to burnout.
Are your line managers OK to have discussions about mental health?
Remember that companies have a legal obligation to help their staff.
9. Welcome Feedback
“Like any other employee, blue-collar workers deserve to have their voices heard on any issue that may circulate in a company,” says Courtney Chi, an advocate for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Worker Rights and Protections.
“Since issues are inevitable, especially in the health and safety spheres, blue-collar workers should be listened to, so that they can voice their own issues on the matter.”
You can use anonymous quick polls for blue-collar workers to give continuous feedback on how they experience their workdays.
Also, actively encourage them to bring up any issues that are worth mentioning at meetings such as daily shift meetings. Make them feel safe, and make sure to act on the feedback they bring up.
Both management and line managers should show an interest.
Is this the case today when it comes to management at your workplace?
As you can see, health and safety are essential to every business.
That’s why you should invest in courses and education.
Train your blue-collar workforce to practice health and safety in their day-to-day work schedules.
The key is to continuously improve.
At the end of the day, it’s not just about protecting yourself.
It’s also about protecting fellow coworkers from potential workplace hazards.
By following these 9 tips, your company will have blue-collar employees up-to-date on this important topic.
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Kendra Beckley is a writer and editor at Research paper writing services. As a business development manager, she helps companies enter a new market and build long-term relationships with partners.