Safety Training

Top 10 training myths that stand between you and your goal of zero accidents

Safety Training Resources

Ongoing or repeated courses and training programs

OSHA Office of Training and Education Training Resources

A treasure trove of training resources exists here, including OSHA compliance assistance, laws and regulations, small business resources and co-operative programs.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Training

Here you'll find links to specific programs supported by NIOSH, including academic degree programs, research / training opportunities, and a number of short-term training options for professionals.

Visit NIOSH Training

American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Certification Preparation Workshops

Certification is a big deal in a safety professional's career. Earning a designation indicates to potential clients that the professional has attained a higher skill level and thus brings greater competence to the job being done. That said, the ASSE provides certification preparation in the areas of math, ASP, CSP, CHST, and OHST. (And if you don't pass a certification test, the ASSE guarantees you can take it again for no charge.)

Learn more about ASSE Certification

International Association of Safety Professionals (IASP) Distance Learning Courses

IASP offers distance education classes (otherwise known as online learning) in areas ranging from accident investigation to workplace violence prevention. All courses are instantly downloadable off the Web or available on CD.

Find out about IASP Distance Learning

U.S. Department of Labor/Mine Safety Training

Training information here is geared towards protecting miners from hazards and includes links to product catalogs, types of courses and programs offered, training tips and compliance guidelines.

Visit Mine Safety Training

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists Courses

The ACGIH maintains a complete list of conferences and courses in which it participates each year. Events are broken down by month, with further information made available about each course or event if desired.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety

CCOHS provides a wide range of training in many popular formats, including e-learning courses delivered over the Internet and traditional classroom courses held on-site at CCOHS or at your location. (Includes price listings.)

American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Courses

The AIHA is dedicated to providing continuing education - including training systems, expositions and conferences - in the area of industrial hygiene. Distance education classes are offered, along with road courses, a management certificate program and video / teleweb seminars.

Safety Training

Myth #1

A comprehensive safety training program costs too much; it takes away from the bottom line.

Best Practice:

Every dollar invested in safety will come back to you in profitability many times over.

Zero accidents mean a decreased need to recruit, hire and train replacement workers, as well as improved employee morale, which equals increased productivity and product quality (the latter reducing the costs of rework) - leading to improved profit margins and attractiveness to shareholders if you're a public company, pride and incentive if you're private.

Myth #2

The safety professional is responsible for discovering the need for safety training programs from your workforce.

Best Practice:

Nope, not the safety professional! That task falls squarely on the shoulders of the people who are directly supervising the workers who need the training. These hands-on managers best understand the knowledge gap of workers and the resulting need for safety training. The front-line supervisors feed that information to the team of safety professionals who then order the suitable training.

Myth #3

Because his / her responsibilities include training and development, the safety professional should report to HR.

Best Practice:

Ideally, the safety professional should report directly to the plant manager, in the case of a factory, or to the COO if it's an office. And the safety professional should participate in management meetings to ensure that safety decisions are made at the highest level.

Myth #4

Safety training is limited to those employees who handle potentially hazardous materials and / or equipment.

Best Practice:

ALL employees should get some kind of safety training. Mid- and top-level managers need training that is more general in nature than what shop-floor or lab workers get, but that nevertheless covers all aspects of safety management (e.g. new OSHA regulations and other legislation, emerging technologies in PPE, case studies of companies with zero accidents, etc.). Bring in expert speakers; post the management-safety-training notes and a glossary of safety terms on the company's intranet.

Myth #5

Several subsequent days, or a full week, of safety training is more valuable to employees than short bursts of training.

Best Practice:

Safety training should be kept short - dictated by the specific need, naturally, but generally no more than a half-day. Training sessions mean time away from production, and safety should never be at odds with the other corporate goals: productivity, sales and profits.

Myth #6

Safety training should be conducted on-site, where workers can get their hands on the safety gear, machines or materials involved.

Best Practice:

Safety training comes in many flavors - on-site, off-site and, with growing frequency, online (otherwise known as long-distance learning or e-learning). No single method is better than the others; it depends on the nature of the training.

Myth #7

Online safety training is not suitable for many older shop-floor workers who aren't computer savvy.

Best Practice:

Clicking through a PowerPoint presentation or joining a webcast is simple enough that young children can do it; don't underestimate the intelligence of any of your workers. Create a small computer lab with the most user-friendly equipment (Macs could be the way to go for their intuitive functionality) and then give basic training. Remember: all investments in safety bring you closer to your goal of zero accidents.

Myth #8

Online safety training presumes the functional literacy of all your workers.

Best Practice:

Be sure to include lots of visual alternatives to written safety training material, such as online videos, interactive DVDs and podcasts. Much useful information can be conveyed through audio, facilitated by the gift or loan of MP3 players to your workers.

Myth #9

My competitors aren't spending this much time, effort and cost on safety training.

Best Practice:

Don't bet on it; the last couple of years have seen burgeoning interest in corporate America developing a culture of safety that goes beyond OSHA compliance. Don't just take our word for it - many books and other resources back up this trend.

Myth #10

Safety training is expensive because it has to be customized to each individual workforce.

Best Practice:

There are plenty of off-the-shelf training programs available - ranging from DVDs and CDs, to pre-packaged safety meeting notes and access to online data. See our list of safety training resources on this page.

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