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Employees should be involved in determining the training needs of an organization because they are often the most knowledgeable experts on what risks and hazards exist in their workplace.
Identifying training needs you should observe employees as they work and perform job tasks to include asking if they have had any “near-miss incidents, do they feel they are taking risks or do they believe that their jobs involve hazardous operations”. This information along with employees written descriptions of their jobs can be used to identify training needs and what a worker expects to accomplish, avoiding unnecessary training and focusing on areas where “improved performance” is needed.
In addition to involving them in the determination of training needs by observation and interview, you are also strengthening their commitment to safety in the organization. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises that employees should be involved because they are “more likely to support and use programs in which they have input,” which can be said the same of training, if employees have a say in what training they have they will more likely participate, learn and use the information, skills, and tools provided in the training during every day work (OSHA, 2015).
Employees can also be involved in determining training needs by conducting and/or participating in site inspections and accident/incident investigations, as well as reporting and fixing hazards (OSHA, 2015). This will create a safety culture that is proactive and training needs can be brought up prior to an incident if employees find hazards or unsafe trends.
Often supervisors are not on the lines, in manufacturing companies, or working side by side the employees continuously. For example, a recent news article by WTDN brought to light a safety situation at the Fuyao Glass Company in Moraine, Ohio. Employees reported 30 safety issues ranging from fire hazards, electrocution risks and lacerations to the media. In response, Fuyao Glass president John Gauthier stated that the management was not alerted to the issues until they were reported in the media and that good communication between worker and supervisor is the “key to staying safe” (WDTN, 2016).
Gauthier also went on to say that he encourages employees to bring up concerns to supervisors. Their newly hired Environmental Health and Safety Manager, John Crane, who was previously worked for OSHA stated that “open communication is key,” and that he has been trying to talk with all three shifts of employees to ensure theta are comfortable with talking about concerns and tries to address them immediately.
This is a perfect example of why employees should be involved with determining the training needs of an organization because instead of creating a “media frenzy” with possible OSHA inspections to come, supervisors could have engaged employees more, in terms of safety, and prevented this situation and eliminated or reduced the 30 safety issues.
Haight, J. M. (Ed.). (2012). Hazard prevention through effective safety and health training. Des Plaines, IL: American Society of Safety Engineers.
Safety & Health Management Systems: Employee Involvement. (2015). Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/safetyhealth/comp1_empl_envolv.html
Fuyao Glass America President responds to OSHA complaint. (2016). WDTN 2 News. Retrieved from
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