What To Do When You Can’t Conduct Training

No New Hiring   =   More Work  =  Less Time For Training 

Experts are telling us that with the economic recovery underway, employers are being very conservative with capital equipment purchases, inventory levels, and new hiring.  These moves are intended to limit debt, preserve cash and drive near-term profit.  Given all the red ink these past 2 years who can blame managers for keeping costs down.

However, with the upswing in economy and the push to produce the lag on hiring is causing problems for safety.  Not only are people doing more and working overtime, but I’ve heard stories of safety training being suspended or canceled outright.  That’s not good news.

Creativity To The Rescue

Last week I was talking with a Loss Control Manager I know.  She told me that she has run into this lack of training time problem twice this past month.  Both times her clients came up with creative and fun ways to get the training message out to the employees.

Idea #1  – One employer is a  manufacturer of promotional items.  They had begun ergonomics training last month when the word came down that workers needed to stay focused on production only.  Although this suspended training, the client and the Loss Control Manager devised a system to keep the training alive. 

They created short messages with graphics about the principles of lifting, product storage, use of lifting devices, and others.  Then using the “safety” section of plant bulletin boards they posted a new message each week.  In the monthly newsletter there was also an article, summarizing the information. 

The really creative part though was the way they gained employee interest and assured learning.  In the weekly pay envelope each employee received a question on the topic of ergonomics.  With the question they were directed to return the completed card with an answer to their supervisor.   If they answered the question correctly they were entered into a drawing for to $25 certificates to Target.  Not only did this method keep people interested, but is got them talking among themselves about ergonomics .

Idea #2 – The next employer manufactures stadium seating and wanted to keep their PPE and slip, trip and fall messages alive.  They used the beginning of each shift to have the supervisor or leadperson call out the thought on safety for the day.  These safety thoughts, createded by the Loss Control Manager, were also posted near the time clock.

Next, they used a creative twist that really got people talking.  They posted the messages on the inside of the toilet stall doors and above the urinals.  Now this might sound a bit off track, but it got people talking and laughing.  And more important, paying attention to safety when “real” training couldn’t be held.  They also used an incentive to increase attention and retention;  giving out Starbucks coupons when questions were answered correctly.

There are probably thousands of quick little ideas out there like these.  If you have any you’d like to share, please comment and I’ll be sure to use them in a future blog post.