by Contributor

Hazard prevention — five ways! Credit: Markus Spiske

(Nov. 7, 2019) — Protect the health and safety of your employees in the workplace with these five basic, but crucial, topics to cover in your next employee training session.

Employee safety training is an important factor that can make or break the safety status of the office. No matter the type of equipment used or the policies in place, if employees do not know how to handle equipment or follow protocol, they can jeopardize their coworkers and themselves. For this reason, employee safety training should be considered a priority.

Although each industry may cover topics specific to the field, there are certain topics the general workforce should know. Here are five basic tips from The TRH Group on safety training Toronto workers from all industries should know:

Topics for Employee Safety Training

1. Fire Safety

Employees should have a working knowledge of their company’s emergency action plan (EAP). An EAP should include protocols for:

  • Roles and responsibilities of each employee
  • Alerting, notifying, and warning employees
  • Reporting emergencies
  • Protective actions against threats and hazards
  • Evacuation
  • Assisting employees or visitors with disabilities
  • Locating and using basic emergency equipment
  • Rescue and medical aid
  • Emergency shutdown

While the employer is responsible for setting up these procedures, the employee bears the responsibility of learning and understanding these procedures and providing suggestions for improvement. Training should be offered to new recruits and done at least once a year.

Get your employees out of harms way Credit: monicore

2. Workplace Ergonomics

Ergonomics-related injuries (e.g. carpal tunnel, repetitive strain injuries, and musculoskeletal disorders) affect employees from all industries no matter the type of work. These injuries represent 33% of workplace injuries and can cost as much as $20 billion in annual losses due to decreased productivity and personal injury claims.

Workplace ergonomic injuries can result from factors including:

  • Continuous sitting or standing
  • Repeating motions like lifting, pushing, or pulling
  • Poor lighting
  • Shifting work schedules

Employees should be trained to:

  • Use equipment and tools properly.
  • Practice proper techniques in lifting, pushing, and other activities
  • Recognize tasks that can cause pain or injury
  • Be familiar with early symptoms of repetitive strain injuries and musculoskeletal disorders
  • Address these symptoms before they become major issues
  • Communicate and report work-related injuries and illnesses

3. Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention

A 2017 online survey conducted by the Government of Canada revealed that approximately 60% of respondents experienced harassment, 30% experienced sexual harassment, and 21% experienced violence in the workplace. Among the respondents who reported having experienced harassment are women, persons with disabilities, and members of a minority group.

Employees should learn how to:

  • Recognize threats, risk factors, and signs of potential workplace violence
  • Understand how their response impacts personal risk levels
  • Respond safely to volatile situations
  • Defuse low-level threats
  • Provide assistance to targeted coworkers
  • Report incidents of violence or harassment

4. Environmental Health and Safety

Sound environmental health and safety practices in the workplace can help prevent illnesses, injuries, and environmental hazards. Among other things, employees should be trained in the following:

  • Environmental management systems
  • Material moving, storage, and disposal
  • Hazardous materials and waste management
  • Electrical safety
  • Machine and tool safety
  • Air and water quality

5. Equipment Safety

Each piece of equipment has its own risks and set of safety features. Whether or not they have experience in the field, operators must be trained to use the equipment they will be handling. This is especially true if you’ve recently acquired new hires and/or new equipment.

Training for equipment safety covers topics such as:

  • Heavy equipment operations and hazards
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Work zone safety
  • Traffic control signals
  • Engineering controls
  • Caught-in or struck-by hazards
School’s in     Credit: Product School

How to Create Effective Workplace Safety Training Programs

In order to establish effective employee safety training, you need to:

  • Prioritize the needs of your workers. Tailor-fit the training program so your employees can apply them to their daily tasks. This way, they are able to perform safely and effectively.
  • Adopt effective strategies. The easy way out is to hand your employees a comprehensive manual. Realistically, however, few will be compelled to read this. Instead, apply dynamic strategies that incorporate storytelling, games, and other techniques.
  • Emphasize personal accountability. Each individual must be held accountable for their own safety and the safety of others, whether they’re a supervisor or a rank-and-file employee.


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