Does safety training work?

As long as people have been getting injured and losing their lives at work, safety training (not as sophisticated as today’s) has tried to prevent these accidents. The real question is whether safety training actually makes a difference or is it just one big waste of time?

The findings of a new study add evidence that safety training works and if given on a regular basis, it works really well.

Researchers in Los Angeles, California, report finding attendance at regular safety meetings and training courses helped employees work more safely. People who attend even one safety training perform better and safer in their jobs. “As people attend more safety training, their attitude towards working safer change. They start to see the value in the safety training because they start to see the accidents they avoided. People who attend regular safety training report feeling happier in all aspects of their lives. What was even more interesting is that even people with poor attitudes towards safety saw dramatic improvements in their attitude – they were able to see safety in a more positive manner.” The research was conducted over a four year period with employees of more than 100 organizations.

The research also dispelled a common belief that people who were thought to have bad attitudes towards safety would always have a poor attitude.  The researched shows that attitudes, like IQ, are changeable over time.  “People do change and they can change for the better.”

This is especially good news for people who think safety training is a waste of time or who have been branded as injury-prone or having a bad attitude towards safety. The reality is that the attitude you hold today about safety:

  1. will develop over time
  2. can change dramatically

So, the next time you are asked to attend safety training, remember, thinking it’s just a waste of time is nothing more than a poor attitude that you don’t have to keep.

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