Workplace Safety Training — How Humor, Simulations and Storytelling Can Help

Today, compliance training has become the need for most organizations, especially those in high-risk industries, as it helps them meet regulatory standards, generate awareness about new equipment, ensure employee safety and mitigate risks.

Even in rapidly developing countries such as India, there are numerous Occupational Health & Safety Acts for most industries at both the national and the state level. These acts lay down the requirements for the organizations to provide a safe work environment and also mandate certain trainings to be provided to employees so that they know their responsibilities and rights.

In spite of this, most of the high-risk industries decide against investing in safety related training programs for their blue-collar workforces as a means to cut costs. Some industries do the bare minimum to tick the checkbox for regulatory compliance. Doing so results in a large number of accidents, many of them completely avoidable.

Here are some industries that are more at risk than others in India.

Manufacturing

Engineers, floor staff, assemblers, mechanics and compounders working in this industry risk their lives working with heavy machinery, combustible liquids, conveyor belts, toxic chemicals etc.

For eg, with a workforce of 80,000+, the auto industry in the Gurgaon-Manesar region is one of the largest manufacturing hubs in India. On an average, over 1,000 workers meet with lethal industrial accidents each year. Most of the workers are not provided any training regard safety and post-accident compensation benefits.

Mining

Mines are extremely hazardous environments and the possibility of fires, floods, explosions and collapses affect a large number of blue-collar workers every year. There was a mining fatality every ten days, and a serious accident every third day in 2016.

For eg, The mine collapse at Eastern Coalfields Ltd’s Lal Matia coal mine in Jharkhand was one of the deadliest incidents with at least 122 seriously injured workers.

Retail

Several thousand accidents in the retail industry are reported every year. Of the 400+ fatalities that occur each year, over half result from assaults and violent acts, 30% result from transportation related accidents, 9% from falls, and 7% from contact with harmful equipment.

Construction

On an average, 165 per 1000 workers get injured in on construction sites. Moreover, the rate of fatal accidents in this sector is 4 times that in the manufacturing sector.

These high rates of accidents are testimony to the lack of awareness among workers, especially blue-collar ones, non-existent training, and lack of basic safety procedures in the aforementioned industries.

It is crucial that employers incorporate tailored safety training, ensure adherence by workers to all compliances, and check if workplace facilities meet government standards. If your organization is among the list above, consider creating engaging content with simulations, scenario based assessments and other gamified features.

No matter what the scope of the training is, having those so-called Aha! moments is one of the most impactful experiences for a learner. You know, the times when one suddenly understands a piece of information. To ensure the success of your health and safety training program, this is exactly what you should aim for.

Interactive training modules, simulations, storytelling and gamification can do what no multiple choice question can, which is allow employees to learn by experimenting and observing rather than staring at a large chunk of data.

Such training content, when coupled with a suitable platform of delivery such as a Learning Management System, can enable learners to get a deep understanding of the most abstract skills, skills that can only be learnt by doing and observing such as operating forklifts, running a cashier machine, stacking large boxes in a warehouse etc.

Here are a few things to consider in order to create impactful content:

1. Know your workforce

The first step you need to take in order to create a good training program is to define your audience. Be aware of their knowledge, technical expertise and skill levels. The last thing you want is to waste time and money by basing your training strategy on assumptions.

2 . Grab their attention

Even though creating eye-catching titles and crisp, chunked down training modules does a decent job at engaging learners, one of your best strategies as an attention grabber will be humor.

This video does a pretty good job at explaining what we mean.

In a 24x7 regulated environment such as manufacturing, construction, retail etc, using bits and pieces of humor will prove to be a great pedagogical tool. Avoid overusing it though.

3. Enable them to interact with their training

Incorporate interactivity into your training program by getting rid of old fashioned walls of info, and instead, focus on creating a series of activities that entertain and at the same time, assess your employees.

For eg, you can add games, videos, pictures… Any element that could enable your learners to practice what they have learnt. Doing so will boost retention levels amongst your workforce.

In Summary

Ensuring safety at any workplace calls for a balance between safety related training content and realistic expectations from the workforce. We suggest putting some effort into creating engaging content as doing so is beneficial in the long run, meanwhile, we, at LearnBee can help you with the platform part.

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