One of the most common challenges of safety and health professionals that deliver safety training is how to keep refresher training interesting year after year. A 2008 survey of over 600 safety trainers showed this to be one of the highest challenges for more than half of all respondents. (See survey results in Appendix A). In many cases, this training is only repeated because "OSHA says so" and the Trainer and the trainees end up showing equally poor interest. A summary of training that must be delivered annually according to OSHA can be found in Appendix B.
The activities presented in this paper are intended to keep your refresher training fresh but in most cases they can also be used with classes that you are designing and delivering for the first time. All of these activities are based on the principles of accelerated learning.
The principles of accelerated learning have been presented at previous ASSE Professional Development Conferences and described in the corresponding Proceedings papers. The titles of these papers are included in this paper's bibliography. To briefly summarize, the principles of accelerated learning are:
Learning should involve the whole mind and body. Games and activities are a great way to get the trainees' mind and body involved for maximum participation.
By working through an activity such as a game, the trainee is working to learn and make connections and not just being fed information. When this happens, the information is more meaningful and will be retained longer.
Good learning is social and we can learn much more by learning with our peers than we can by ourselves. Safety training games and activities, for the most part, are group activities. Even when the activity is a simple safety crossword puzzle, teams can work on the puzzle together to increase learning.
If you ask someone to sit still and just look at a bunch of slides or listen to a speaker, learning will not be as great as if the same material was presented along with an activity that would relate to the material at hand. Activity, or doing the work itself, enhances learning. Even when there is no replacement for a lecture format, trainees can stay active through guided note-taking, frequent question and answer periods, and reviews.
It is important to point out that people will not automatically learn more because they are standing up and moving, but if you combine physical movement with intellectual activity and use all of the senses, this can have a profound effect on learning. Training activities and games can do just that. It's easy to understand and remember this with the acronym "BEE-B."
Body work refers to the body and includes what we can touch and feel such as hands-on learning activities.