HR Support on Safety Training Programs

Editor's Note: Keep employees safe by giving them knowledge.

Ashley ShawOverview: Safety training is a critically important component of workplace safety and health. There are several different types of required safety training, such as forklift operation, hazard communication and HAZWOPER. Under many of these requirements, an employee is not even allowed to perform the job functions without the appropriate training. However, there is a lot of non-required training that an employer should conduct as well.

If a job is highly dangerous, there is a good chance that there will be an actual training requirement included in regulations regarding the job. Every job, though, should have some type of safety training. Even office work, which may seem immune to safety concerns, can benefit from basic safety training. For example, teaching employees how to store and position extension cords so as not to cause trips can prevent injuries and save employers a lot of money over time.

When safety training is conducted, it should be documented. This is especially true for required training. If OSHA inspects the workplace, it will want proof that all required training has been adequately performed, and it will not take the employer's word for it.

Trends: Technology helps businesses in a lot of ways, but it also creates liabilities. Many job functions today can be performed through robotic machinery. If an employer uses this type of machine, however, it should make sure safety training incorporates what to do if the machine malfunctions. There have been deaths caused by runaway robotic forklifts that safety training might have been able to prevent.

Author: Ashley Shaw, JD, Legal Editor

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