5 Ways to Shake Up Your Safety Training

You don’t want employees to get complacent about something as important as safety. Here are ways to keep them engaged.

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At 20-years-old, Regina McMichael’s husband died after falling off a roof at a job site where he was working. That was the day her safety career started.

Three decades later she is still laser-focused on making the construction industries safer by improving the way safety training is taught. Her energy, humor, and engaging style as a speaker and trainer has earned her rave reviews. She recently shared five key ways to change your safety training so that it is more effective.

1. Identify what the learners know and what they need to know

“The gap between these two areas is what you teach to,” says McMichael. “Nothing more, nothing less.”

She teaches trainers to use the ADDIE Model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) to first analyze and then design training.

“We need to respect our audience and not waste time teaching them things they don’t need to know,” she says.

2. Make training interactive

It’s time to put away those deadly PowerPoint presentations. McMichael recommends engaging workers with problem-solving activities.

“Give them a scenario and ask, ‘How would you fix this?’ It will be much more interesting and fun,” she says. “Have the workers help develop the solutions and train themselves.”

Use case studies, group discussion and competition to gain their interest and attention.

“Friendly competition makes classes fun and makes things stick,” she says.

Regina McMichael
Regina McMichael

3. Use multiple avenues to train workers

In the construction industries, there are a huge number of small companies without someone in a dedicated safety role. Those tasked with safety training are frequently overworked and can find themselves in a position of having to teach a topic they don’t have any expertise in.  

McMichael advises companies to use multiple training tools, such as local classes, online training, in-person training, and one-on-one job site training with supervisors to help lessen the burden on those in the safety-training role.

“There is no one magic solution,” she says.

4. Bring humanity back to safety

“If we’re going to be successful, safety training cannot be about compliance,” says McMichael. “We have to let human beings know we care about them and let them know we want them to stay alive.”

Job site pressures can often result in workers not taking the time to be safe. Employers need to show they value workers by providing them with the knowledge and best practices to ensure they go home to their families.

5. Support your trainers

McMichael believes a commitment to safety and effective training will enable companies to move from compliance-driven checklists to humanity-based solutions. 

One of McMichael’s classes, “Getting a Seat at the C-Suite: What Every Safety Pro Should Know,” focuses on how to get management to support safety initiatives. Another, titled “Safety Training Ninjas,” based on her recently released book, The Safety Training Ninja, equips trainers with a process to develop effective training and tools to make it valuable and something people want to learn. Trainers also learn how to develop learning objectives and demonstrate that they were achieved. “People, Not Policy” is about bringing humanity back to the safety world. She presented all three programs at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020.

For free safety training resources and information about McMichael visit www.safetytrainingninja.com or www.reginamcmichael.com

About the Author

AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 950 companies and 200-plus product lines in the agriculture and construction-related sectors worldwide. AEM has an ownership stake in and manages several world-class exhibitions, including CONEXPO-CON/AGG.


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