Workers compensation is a 60-billion-dollar crater on the Australian economy. Business is always looking for ways to reduce costs. Riskcover notes that the average claim is $23,780 and requires 63 days off work. Two key areas emerged from a survey of 75,000 environmental, health and safety leaders. Strong leadership and safety training can help to improve workplace safety and reduce worker’s compensation costs. This article summarises the survey findings and provides tips on how to improve safety training delivery methods.
Strong leadership supports safe behaviour
Almost 82% of the survey respondents said top management of their organisation provides both active and visible support for health and safety. They noted that leadership from the top-down is one of the keys to employee engagement and positive safety culture. Respondents suggested that there is a need for more detailed safety policies that are endorsed and housed at the top. Rather than siloed into departments.
See our article on what EHS professionals will spend their budgets on in 2019.
Safety training reduces workplace injury
The second critical area was safety training. 73% noted that this was the focus that they should concentrate on over the next four years. Respondents said if they could have any wish fulfilled, they would have:
Significantly more behavioural safety training for construction workers.
They also suggested that there needed to be safety programmes in place that included:
- quality assurance,
- reporting and
- incentives to participate.
They recommended including recognition and awards for good performance. They suggested using punitive and judicial sanctions and fines for poor performance.
See our article on how competent construction supervisors are in recognising workplace hazards.
Interestingly, the survey revealed that over 50% indicated they would use software to improve their organisation’s safety performance. They want to use safety training software to:
- Track employees’ training records to ensure that they are current.
- Analyse which specific workplace or activity is at most risk, to prioritise the focus and efforts for EHS campaigns.
- Analyse essential and contributory factors (also known as causes; root cause; hazards or risk).
- Better aggregate the information and review possible trends; especially for near-miss reporting.
- Communicate performance to employees to keep them focused.
These companies expect that their employees have the resources and knowledge that they need to work safely, every shift, every day.
See our article on how you can achieve value from your safety training.
Not just training, but effective safety training
Safety training reduces workplace injuries, and safety managers want to increase their training efforts. How do they do this effectively when studies show we lose 90% of trained information after the first month? We know that health and safety training needs to meet compliance requirements. However, to truly retain knowledge and achieve an improved behavioural outcome that lifts safety standards, the training delivery must be engaging and visually pleasing. There are several steps you can take to ensure that your safety training delivers improvement.
Get training out of the classroom and deliver it in the workplace.
Research shows that in taking this simple step, the training is delivered and immediately applied. We can achieve almost 100% knowledge retention. Using mobile devices to train is one method you can use to achieve this first step successfully.
Include interaction within the training content.
Engage the user, using interactive methods, e.g. quizzes, competitions and most effectively – gaming. Mobile safety applications are particularly effective here. Remember, ‘death by powerpoint’ is a passive, non-engaging method that fails to embed learning. The Tap Into Safety Platform provides interactive safety and mental health training. There are over 35 pre-built training modules on the Platform available to use right now for a $10 per use fee. Why not try a free demo?
Draw on realistic, relatable content.
Use pictorial and video examples of safety issues you are experiencing in your work areas. Generic examples and photographs of other organisations don’t work because there is often limited personal or emotional connection. Customisation of training content is effective in encouraging knowledge retention.
Deliver the training in small bursts as micro-learning.
Micro-learning enables the user to process and embed the concepts, instructions and requirements, one piece at a time. Training that is delivered hour after hour does not appreciate that adult learners only have full concentration for a limited time. How many businesses conduct their safety induction like this?
Be mindful of the user experience.
The quality of the pictorial content that you use, e.g., images, video and the layout of the training exercise are important. The interaction required to complete the training must be of high quality. When the quality is low, it creates a mental ‘jar’ and interrupts the flow of learning and subsequent knowledge transfer. Be mindful of the training programmes you deliver and use quality as a differentiator.
Consider training using digital solutions.
Forward-thinking companies are taking the view to move beyond safety training merely to prove compliance. The ‘tick and flick’ induction is moving to training that has meaning and improvement to safety behaviour. EY Sweeney reports that 88% of Australians use a smartphone and engage in social media resulting in a rapid increase in technology literacy. The mass adoption of internet-connected mobile devices has opened the door to portable solutions and applications.
By changing the methods of delivery in your safety training, you can achieve what you set out to do. That is a direct transfer of the training into a positive change in behaviour. Leading to a reduction in workplace injuries, and ultimately, a reduction in workers compensation claims.
Because it’s not only about the raw costs of workers compensation and insurance, the positive outcomes of effective safety training benefits are evident through a cultural shift in the workplace. Research in the US construction industry reported positive benefits of safe and healthy work to corporate reputation, ability to contract new work, and improvements in project quality.
See our article on including immersive methods in your safety training.
Workers compensation is a huge drain on the Australian economy. Strong leadership and safety training can help to improve workplace safety and reduce worker’s compensation costs. Leadership from the top-down is one of the keys to employee engagement and positive safety culture. Organisations need to provide effective safety training that uses engaging delivery methods. By changing the methods of delivery in your safety training, you can achieve what you set out to do. That is a direct transfer of the training into a positive change in behaviour. Leading to a reduction in workplace injuries, and ultimately, a reduction in workers compensation claims.