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Rethinking Safety Compliance Training

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

Compliance training is often seen as a routine necessity rather than a strategic opportunity. I advocate for a shift in perspective: compliance training can be a powerful tool to enhance safety culture and align with strategic organizational goals. In this blog, we'll explore how compliance training can be reimagined to effectively achieve strategic safety objectives.

Transforming Compliance Training into a Strategic Asset

Progressive organizations in our industry are starting to recognize the untapped potential of safety training. By moving away from the traditional, often monotonous approach to compliance training, they are adopting innovative methods that not only meet regulatory requirements but also contribute significantly to organizational safety goals.

Engaging Training Methods: A Case Study

Consider the example of a manufacturing site in the Southeastern U.S. Facing an urgent need for Hazard Communication (HazCom) training, a safety consultant took over the training session in the absence of the regular trainer. This session was transformed into an engaging, goal-oriented experience, aligning employees with the company’s safety ambitions. The result? The training was met with enthusiastic feedback and a notable increase in commitment to safety practices.

The Importance of Follow-up and Reinforcement

Post-training follow-up is crucial. At the site above, the consultant ensured that supervisors used the same training materials and incorporated discussions in regular toolbox meetings. Additionally, posters and newsletter articles reinforced the training messages, sustaining the initial enthusiasm and embedding the safety culture more deeply.

Tailoring Training to Strategic Goals

Training shouldn’t just tick a box for compliance; it should be a vehicle to meet specific organizational needs. For example, a chemical plant reshaped its hazardous materials safety training to include a session on a new computer-based Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) program, thus meeting OSHA requirements and advancing a significant safety improvement.

Training as a Continuous Process

Rather than viewing training as a once-off event, it should be seen as the beginning of ongoing safety initiatives. Integrating non-training methods like on-the-job reminders ensures the practical application of classroom concepts and helps establish new routines within the workplace culture.

Follow-up: The Key to Lasting Impact

Effective organizations use a variety of tools to bolster training efforts, such as regular meetings, communication channels, and informal conversations. These activities, aligned with training objectives, help measure the level of focus on safety through perception surveys and audits. Mnemonics and memory aids can also be powerful in enhancing training retention.

Embracing a New Training Paradigm

For mandatory safety training to truly drive change, we need to align it with broader organizational goals and embrace new perspectives on its potential. This approach transforms compliance training from a routine task into a valuable opportunity for enhancing safety and achieving long-term organizational success.

In summary, compliance training in the oil and gas industry holds great potential beyond mere regulatory fulfillment. By strategically designing training sessions, emphasizing follow-up, and integrating them with organizational goals, we can leverage these opportunities to foster a stronger safety culture. It's time to view every training session as a vital step towards a safer, more efficient, and successful future in our industry.

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