By: Ryan Clayton

The organizations’ needs have to be taken for consideration especially when the decision to train employees comes into play.  The American National Standard Z490.1 states that “if training is the appropriate response than the assessment shall include key characteristics that are unique to that organization.”  It is important to recognize that this statement focuses on two subjects. Training may not always be the key to the organization issue (behavioral, management system etc), defines the first statement, “if training is the appropriate response…” Including the unique characteristics is another part of that statement that should not be taken lightly. Every work site is different; therefore each site will differ in the ways they produce or serve. Creating an assessment with this is mind is vital.

First, the assessment needs to include characterization of the training audience. The understanding of material depends on the delivery method and material that is presented. For example if you have a group of employees, made up of senior managers then your training needs to be formal and address them in a manner that is expectable (graphs, Stats etc.). On the other hand a group of coal miners may not focus in a training session that is lecture and example of data analysis. By characterizing your training to fit the audience that it is intended for, one will have a better chance of reaching total understanding across the board.

The assessment must include what the trainees are required to know or do. This is particularly important because time is money. If the training session is about confined spaces and the trainees do nothing with confined spaces than training is a waste of time and money. Giving the employee too much information that has nothing to do with his/her job will not only bore the audience but destroy the effectiveness of your training.  Training needs to be site specific. As a safety consultant we might have more than one site to serve as a consultant. For example in one site we might have to go over cold weather training, however on the other hand, the other site might be located in majority hot weather. In this case the training will have to be site specific so that you are not wasting any valuable time.

Another important assessment to take into consideration is special trainee abilities, languages, or cultures. Many companies have realized that the majority of their workforce is becoming bilingual or native Spanish speaking persons. This is very important to consider because if your employees do not understand the training at all the will be involved in an incident or worse a fatality.  By assigning your companies language before you conduct any training will allow you to prepare your training so that everyone is able to understand, and express their concerns. Not only will your employee understand the training but they might also teach us a thing or two about the job they do. In that case you will be able to add or subtract from your training.

As one can see, by taking the time to assess the needs of your organization, the training program will gain more bang for its buck. It is vital that an organization takes this step so that resources are use as efficiently as possible.  By continuing to tie an organizations needs to training, the SH&E system will become more effective and on the road of continuous improvement.