Ask anyone in the construction industry: What is the most challenging aspect of maintaining a successful health and safety program? Most likely the answer received is employee training.
Adequate employee training not only reduces workplace accidents, but it also promotes an effective health and safety program, increases workplace morale, lowers insurance costs, and demonstrates a good faith effort on behalf of an employer. If an employer takes the time and resources to educate employees about jobsite hazards with the intent of preventing dangerous conditions, employees are more likely to feel a greater sense of ownership in the work they are conducting.
In many cases, where serious or fatal accidents have occurred, OSHA has found that inadequate training was one of the root causes. When investigating any accident, this is typically one of the first questions asked. Even in cases where training documentation is provided, the nature of the accident and lack of individual employee knowledge may indicate the training was insufficient and retraining should be required.
For every construction company, there are many barriers to having an effective safety training program. Scheduling conflicts with a dynamic workforce, adult education and language barriers, finding qualified and knowledgeable trainers, and completing training (or retraining) when required, are all substantial hurdles that must be overcome to provide employees with the necessary information needed to perform their jobs.
So, as we ask ourselves, what is the most challenging aspect of maintaining an effective health and safety training program? We are able to answer that employee training can be difficult, but there are ways to bridge the gaps. Addressing logistical problems, language and education barriers, trainer qualifications, and frequency issues are all challenges that every employer must find their own unique solutions for. Even though training employees may be time consuming and could require additional resources, it is always money well spent.
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