Nov 19, 2019
Nothing replaces person-to-person safety coaching. As more safety training becomes automated through software and other methods, OSHA is beginning to take a stand on this difficult problem. OSHA has determined that computerized safety training by itself is not enough to train employees adequately. The Acting OSHA Chief Loren Sweatt reiterated the need for safety training to help employees deal with any number of potential work hazards. Not only is this training legally required but Sweatt indicates that businesses can also benefit from well-trained workers.
Incidents and accidents can be costly and the workflow can be interrupted, not to mention the effect these dangers have on the lives of the employees and their families. So in the smart-phone era where many of us are glued to our screens, should employers be tempted to move all safety training into the virtual realm? Not so fast, OSHA warns. Computer-only training does not provide the kind of give-and-take you would get between two human beings interacting. For example, if a worker has follow-up questions that need answering, the computer software might not be nimble enough to answer responsively.
Any software that does not give workers this option would not technically be in legal compliance with OSHA-required safety training. OSHA requires a qualified trainer to offer an interactive learning program that demonstrates tasks in a hands-on way. Examples of this training include tool handling, proper PPE use, etc. The trainer can then assess the worker's ability to do the job safely while minimizing risks. The ultimate goal of any safety training is to enable the organization to be incident and injury-free. There is hope that over the next quarter-century, safety training online can become more interactive.
As technologies such as holograms, virtual and augmented realities develop, they will take a more prominent place in safety training. Until then, nothing replaces person-to-person interaction for safety training, coaching, and mentoring.
David Sparkman | Nov 18, 2019 - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) takes employee safety training very seriously, and in support of that commitment the agency recently reinforced its stated policy that online and computer training alone for employees is not adequate to meet federal train requirements.