3 Excellent Safety Coaching and Training Techniques

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Team Voxel

January 31, 2024

Coaching and training is a critical part of safety culture, helping you to not only ensure that your policies are followed but also strengthening relationships across the organization. All too often these efforts fall flat. Here are three ways you can make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

Coaching and training is a critical part of safety culture, helping you to not only ensure that your policies are followed but also strengthening relationships across the organization. All too often these efforts fall flat. Here are three ways you can make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

Three tips for better safety coaching and training: 

  • Address Incidents Immediately and Reward Good Behavior
  • Weekly or monthly safety meetings
  • Take extra care with new hires and temporary employees

Address Incidents Immediately and Reward Good Behavior

When you see a risky behavior or near-miss incident in the video you need to act quickly while the memory is still fresh in everyone’s minds. Industrial environments are chaotic and a lot can happen in a single shift – if you wait too many days, your associates may forget what happened, and it will be harder to get them to change their behavior. 

Voxel’s Highlighted events gives you a short list of high-priority, “coachable” incidents you can take back to your team each day.

Example: Americold Storage

Develop a safety routine to maximize positive rewards for good safety practices, and minimize punishments for bad safety behaviors. When safety is mostly discussed in a punitive context, then your associates will only ever think about safety in a negative way. 

Americold Storage had a “caught you being safe” program that helped them to recognize and reinforce good safety behaviors. Whenever Voxel captures one worker exhibiting ‘high-risk’ behavior in a scene, it may also capture several other workers exhibiting ‘safe’ behavior in the same or nearby scenes. The general manager chose to reward the workers captured ‘being safe,’ rather than punish the individual worker captured ‘being unsafe.’

Outside of proactive coaching, you should also hold safety meetings to build an effective, positive safety culture. Where coaching provides bite-sized, customized insights, safety meetings can help you talk about ongoing trends and larger topics.

Weekly or Monthly Safety Meetings

One of the best tools for building a positive safety culture is holding regular safety meetings, on a monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly basis. While these meetings are hosted by you, they should be focused on getting feedback and delivering information to hourly employees. Whenever possible, rotate who attends these meetings, prioritizing diverse opinions across the organization. If you have  leaders and non-leaders, veterans and new hires, you'll get a wide range of opinions that will help you figure out core safety priorities and set the agenda for new safety initiatives. Safety meetings are an open, safe forum to have important safety conversations, to review critical focus areas, and celebrate positive improvements. 

Have Important Open Conversations

The goal of a safety meeting is to get your team to talk openly about their experiences.  Tell your team you’re there to take notes, and this is their opportunity to talk freely without any fear of retaliation. Your team will feel empowered when they get to drive the conversation. Go around the room and ask everybody to make a comment or observation related to safety. Assure them you’ll do everything in your power to make sure their concerns get addressed. 

Review Incidents and Give Praise

Using data from the Voxel dashboard, spend a few minutes to review critical safety incidents that took place since the last meeting, and give kudos for positive trends in safety compliance. This is also a good time to communicate about safety rewards that impact employees directly: if you saved money by bringing incidents down, get some feedback on how that money should be spent to make your workplace better for everybody.

Include Guest Speakers

Introduce a guest speaker at each meeting. It’s good to always have somebody representing the union present at the meeting. Bring in maintenance staff, because they’re responsible for making sure everything’s working properly. If somebody in management is present, you can pass along an associate’s concerns directly during the meeting, so they see that their voice is being heard.

Take Extra Care with New Hires and Temporary Employees

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, new workers are significantly more likely to be injured compared to their more experienced colleagues. In fact, 40% of all workplace injuries involve employees who have been on the job for less than one year, and one in eight injuries occur on an employee's first day. New workers are five times more likely to be injured on the job than more experienced workers.

Get Good, Then Get Fast

Research shows that temporary workers and new hires are especially likely to get injured in their early days on the job. They’re eager to prove themselves and, as a result, they may take shortcuts on safety protocols to hit their productivity numbers.

 It’s best to discourage this behavior by creating a probationary period for new workers: tell new hires that their job is to “get good, and then get fast.”

Video Training With Voxel

You can use Voxel’s Bookmark feature to store important videos of critical safety incidents. If new hires see videos of what “not to do” in their new work environment, they’ll learn fast that there are real consequences to taking shortcuts. Think of Voxel as a video training and safety onboarding tool for all new hires: keep a short list of the “top priority” safety behaviors you want all new hires to be aware of, and incorporate these videos into your training process.

Key Takeaways

  • It’s important to create a positive association with safety culture by rewarding good behavior 
  • Weekly or monthly safety meetings allow opportunities to address trends and talk about larger topics
  • Take extra care with new hires to keep them safe in the critical onboarding period