If you’re working toward creating a safety culture in your company, you’re going to need some safety leaders. But where do safety leaders come from? They emerge from your existing team of employees! Strong safety leadership shines in employees who are educated on all of the important safety points and who use that information to create a safer workspace for everyone.
So it really takes conscientious management to ensure that employees are being trained well. We sat down with safety consultant Monica Rakoczy to learn about some of the struggles safety professionals face on the job, especially when it comes to training employees.
Create a Conversation
One of the major problems that Monica witnessed on the job was the difficulty of “getting the students—the actual workers—involved in the safety,” she said. Rather than sitting them in front of a slideshow presentation, she believes that initiating an honest conversation with employees is an effective start.
“If you can make it fun for you and for them and make an interesting conversation—that was the premise of where I wanted to start my company,” she said.
Monica is the founder of EnterTRAINING Solutions, a safety consulting company that aims to truly educate employees through interactive teaching methods. She says that you should be entertained while you’re learning because you remember more of the information when you’re actively involved.
Get Management Involved
Another common problem is support from management. “If you don’t have the backing of management, I think that is a huge hurdle,” said Monica. “Workers know that if you tell them something and you don’t back it up with the right product or the right equipment—the right tools to do the job—they understand that you don’t really mean it; you’re just saying it.”
On the surface, this may seem like there’s a simple solution: get management on board. But the problem is much more complicated than that. Management often doesn’t know about the issues employees face on the workfloor when balancing their job tasks and safety, so it’s important to break down the walls and communicate.
“I would like to see more management step out of the office and step into the working field and observe more often,” said Monica. It’s important to get employees and managers connecting and communicating so that everyone knows what’s needed, what works, and what doesn’t. It’s nearly impossible to create strong safety leadership with poor communication between employees and leadership.
Improve the Future of Safety
She says that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to safety, and that may be one of the biggest misconceptions in the field. Each company needs to find what works for them and their employees—by communicating openly—and work from there. Every single workplace is unique with a distinct group of employees. What works for one company may not work at all for another. There is no one right answer to give across the board.
Monica’s advice for a better future of safety training is to make learning more interactive and to continually educate. This is the key to a successful training program that will turn many of your average employees into strong safety leaders.