Too many back training programs consist of gathering employees in a room once a year, showing a 10-minute DVD with outdated footage and then sending them back to work once it’s over. The lifting techniques in these videos may be perfectly applicable because there hasn’t been any major breakthroughs in lifting procedures for years, but information transfer is only one part of safety training. It’s also essential to provide frequent, hands-on training to increase the likelihood that workers will retain the knowledge.
It’s important to remember that back safety training almost always happens in a controlled environment without the stress and hustle of the workplace. If you want employees to remember safe lifting procedures when they’re rushing, frustrated or tired they need to practice lifting demos and receive regular positive correction and feedback. Ideally, they should also be trained in identifying and contending with the human factors that are most likely to compromise their lifting technique.
Frequent reminders are also important. In a 2014 survey of safety professionals conducted by BLR, 85% of respondents said that reminding workers about safety issues is effective but only provides a temporary benefit. The survey focused on slips, trips and falls in the workplace but many of its findings, including this one, are broadly applicable to safety practices.
This means that not only should you provide reminders but you also need to offer training that will keep workers safe in between their reminders—including building better habits.
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