Safety competency can degrade with time, especially when it comes to skills or knowledge employees don’t use frequently.

So unless you’re, say, regularly evacuating the building for safety reasons, regular trainings are essential to keep knowledge fresh. But just how regular should those trainings be?

The frequency of some safety training is mandated by federal, state or local regulations. The frequency of non-mandated trainings can be determined through a ‘needs assessment.’ Since training is an investment of time and money, companies should also determine the return they are getting on those investments.

Mandatory Trainings

Federal and state lawmakers and regulators have codified the importance of worker safety training, and the significance of having employees trained on a regular basis.

It’s standard for guidelines to formalize not just what training an organization needs to hold, and to whom those guidelines apply within that organization, but also how frequently that organization must conduct refresher training. Personnel responsible for safety training within each organization are generally indicated by legislation.

Legislation and policies often also define the regularity with which an organization must train various personnel. Guidelines might define training requirement very specifically, or as vague as “ongoing” training. The more obscure the wording, the more the regulatory agencies are depending on companies doing the training to determine what frequency is appropriate.

Needs Assessment

A needs assessment system should regularly establish who needs training and how frequently refresher training should happen. Needs assessments can be used to recognize gaps in skills or knowledge and may be used within any portion of a training system. Simply put, these tools identify the degree of safety abilities among staff members and the areas where a company should be implementing safety training.

Needs assessments can be a long-term, highly organized evaluation of staff needs, or they can informal reviews. The main goal is to help us make knowledgeable decisions about the next step or steps in the training process. Needs assessments can be most beneficial if done on a continual basis.

Return on Investment

Determining a dollar-based value for the benefits acquired from training can be challenging. Training more frequently increases costs for the company and so it is crucial to get a sense of how much money is saved through more frequent training.

New abilities that are used less frequently can deteriorate over time, and strengthening those abilities just before a breakdown occurs is the crucial benefit of refresher training. Staff who use those abilities more often might experience deterioration at a slower rate. So making the most of a training investment means hitting a sweet spot; the time when abilities begin to erode.

However, that sweet spot could be different for each organization, and even for each employee.


Need Help With Safety?

At Cornerstone, we work with our clients to ensure that our contract workers stay properly trained with respect to safety. For more information on hiring for safety, check out our eBook Top 10 Ways to Hire Safe Workers. Please contact us today if your organization is looking for a custom staffing solution and a partner in employee training.

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