Training should be a top priority in your safety program. Are your practices aligned with what's actually effective in the real world?

There are more resources at a safety trainer's disposal than ever before, from simple PowerPoint presentations to full-blown online training. But few safety professionals actually employ the type of training they believe is most useful.

Safety Training by the Numbers

A recent survey by BLR asked individuals who are responsible for safety at their company which method they most frequently relied upon to deliver safety training. The survey results revealed that the most common type of training by far was a presentation in a classroom setting, with almost 46% of respondents regularly using traditional tools like handouts, videos, and PowerPoint.

The second-most popular method of training is a blend of classroom and self-paced learning, which is employed by 27% of respondents. Coming in third was hands-on training in the field, with only 22% of those surveyed saying they most frequently provided hands-on training in the field.

But ask respondents which method they think is most effective at training workers and you get a much different response. The vast majority believed that hands-on training in the workplace was the best way to influence behavior, with over 79% of those surveyed selecting this option. Classroom training was a distant second at 18%.

Hands-On Engagement

And it turns out they're right—engaging employees in direct, hands-on training is more effective than traditional classroom safety lessons. A research paper examined 95 studies of safety training from 1971 to 2003 and concluded that "as training methods became more engaging (i.e., requiring trainees' active participation), workers demonstrated greater knowledge acquisition, and reductions were seen in accidents, illnesses, and injuries." The paper also noted that lecture-style training is "one of the least engaging methods of safety and health training."

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