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Maximize Training Effectiveness With Smart Scheduling

Scheduling safety training doesn’t have to be a source of endless stress if you approach it in the right way. The acronym “SCORE” can help you get on the right track.

  • Schedule training far in advance-at least for the next 6 months to a year.
  • Choose the topics, trainers, and trainees. You can always make adjustments later. Consider OSHA training requirements, and make sure those sessions get priority in your schedule.
  • Organize training sessions in the order that you want to conduct them, and set specificdates for each session. For self-paced training sessions, be sure to also set a date by which time training must be completed.Again, you can fiddle with dates as you go along, but you ought to lay out a master schedule at the beginning of your year or 6-month training period.
  • Review your schedule periodically to make sure it’s on track and sessions are being completed as scheduled. Make adjustments as necessary. For example, perhaps an accident has occurred that requires retraining of some or all employees. Or maybe new procedures or equipment you hadn’t anticipated require you to fit new training sessions into your schedule.
  • Evaluate your schedule as it comes to an end so that you can improve next year’s schedule. Use self-paced training to eliminate scheduling problems. Whether you’re responsible for a 24/7 workforce or you’re having trouble finding a convenient time to pull employees or supervisors away from work, self-paced training might be a viable solution. You have a range of self-paced options to choose from, including:
  • Computer-based training on CD or DVD
  • Online training
  • DVD, video, or audio training
  • Click and train PowerPoint® presentations
  • Complementary training booklets with any of the above

Self-paced training in any format is a convenient, cost-effective way to provide training on many safety topics. Self-paced training is effective because trainees proceed at their own speed. It’s consistent because all trainees receive the same information in the same way. And it’s specific because trainees can move quickly through the information they’ve already mastered and spend more time on information that’s new to them.

What’s more, trainees can set aside small blocks of time to complete one module at a time. By having the flexibility to choose when they train, they might be more receptive and learn more.

You should be aware of a couple of drawbacks, however. Some employees lack the self-discipline needed to train on their own. Others might have trouble completing the program because of limited understanding of technology, poor reading skills, or limited English-language skills.Rely on special strategies for special cases. Here are some suggestions for handling those hard-to-schedule training sessions.

  • Multipart training. Make sure there’s a logical progression. Also, make sure training sessions aren’t so far apart that trainees forget the prior training points, or too close together that they suffer information overload.
  • Shift worker training. If you can’t arrange trainer-led sessions for night workers during their shift, you can either try self-paced training or have them come in early and train before their shift. After the shift, they may be too tired to take in and retain information. Another option is to have them come in on a day off. This way they can train with other workers. This option is probably best for long training sessions and sessions that involve demonstrations or safety experts who can only come in for one session during the day.
  • Make-up sessions. When employees are out sick or on vacation and miss a training session, you can either hold a trainer-led make-up session if you have enough trainees to make that worthwhile, or you could videotape the session and let those who missed out watch it either individually or in a group when they get back. Another alternative is to use self-paced programs to cover the material.
  • Demonstrations/talks by safety experts. These sessions generally have to be scheduled around availability. For example, demonstrations on equipment normally in use during the workday might have to be scheduled after work or at a time when the equipment can be temporarily taken out of service without disrupting production. Sessions that involve talks by in-house or outside safety experts have to be scheduled at the convenience of the experts. When scheduling conflicts arise, consider videotaping demonstrations and talks to show to trainees at a later date when it’s convenient to convene a training group.
  • Training employees with limited English-language skills. If you have a group of these employees who all speak the same language, the best approach is to schedule a group session with a translator on hand. Another option is to use a self-paced program if it’s available in the trainee’s language and the trainee has adequate reading skills.

With serious safety and health risks looming and OSHA training requirements hanging over your head, you can’t afford hit-or-miss training.

Effective, broad-based safety training that reaches every employee who needs it has to be scheduled. Scheduling doesn’t have to be a headache if you plan ahead and keep up to date to make sure safety training is being conducted on time and on target.

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