Safety Training – Are They Paying Attention?

Every once and a while two completely unrelated things wind up on your desk as the same time and you notice the connection.   Today it was safety training and dancing flight attendants.

First the training part.   A new survey from Safety News Alert that asked  safety professionals what their biggest headaches were.  Here were the results:

  • scheduling safety training (around production, for example): 33.1%
  • keeping it fresh/new ideas: 27.2%
  • getting employees to remember what they learned: 20.9%
  • keeping up with what training OSHA requires: 10.9%
  • doing/presenting it: 4.3%, and
  • developing it: 3.6%.

No surprise that scheduling is the biggest headache ( I have one client that has been trying to get the right managers together for one of my workshops for three months).   I want to focus on the complaint that is a close second – Keeping it fresh/new ideas.  It is accepted that the more critical a safety practice, the more we need to refresh training for it.

The problem is, if we can’t keep the “fresh” in refresher, students won’t pay attention and we just wasted everyone’s time.

Then I saw this video of an airline preflight safety announcement choreographed by the flight crew.   Before you click on it, think about this – when was the last time you paid attention to the announcements on a plane?   OK, now click the video:

Just so we are clear, dancing will not help your next Lockout/Tagout refresher class!   My point is that pre-flight announcements are the poster child for boring refreshers.  Kind of important information that we have heard so often we don’t pay any attention at all.   But you watched this one didn’t you?  It is because the flight crew took on the challenge of “how do we get passengers to look up from their magazines long enough to fugue out where the exits are.”

Too many trainers just accept that the students have heard about confined space a million times and no one is going to pay attention.   Their first question winds up being, “how do I get this over with as quickly as possible and still meet the compliance goal.”

The first question needs to be, “how do I hold their interest?”   Then you are in a position to ask, “what do I need to teach them.”

If you can’t get their attention, they don’t learn anything.    As a wise individual once told me, “don’t try to enlighten the unconscious.”

One Reply to “Safety Training – Are They Paying Attention?”

  1. Try addressing safety stuff vs personal health would help. Or training and recruiting safety persons who understand the technical stuff so they have a bit of a clue what the underlying latent causes of safety are!

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