How OSHA Damaged Safety Training

April 15 2015
By: Terry L. Mathis

When OSHA set quantity requirements for annual refresher training without setting stringent quality requirements, safety training began a never-ending downward spiral. The vast majority of ALL safety training, OSHA required and otherwise, is low-quality training that has little to no impact on performance in the workplace. This was certainly not the intention or the fault of OSHA, but they started the movement and have yet to do anything to stop it.

After interviewing tens of thousands of workers, we seldom find any who truly value safety training. There are exceptions, and some are quite innovative and effective; but they are in the minority. Most safety training is boring and repetitious. It is to be endured rather than relished. It is demotivating and sometimes even demeaning.

But this is not a characteristic of training in general; only of safety training. It does not have to be so. Safety training can be stimulating and thought expanding. It can establish focus and help to address specific issues. It can build effective cultures and foster teamwork. Often, the amount of effort and resources needed to turn boring training into dynamic training is well worth the effort. Organizations should seek to maximize the impact of their safety training rather than just keeping the organization in minimum regulatory compliance.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.

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