No one can tell the future, nor can we know the exact causes of each and every accident in the past. What we can do, however, is be as prepared as possible. Preparation for your contractors begins with your background screening process, which helps ensure that you’re hiring trustworthy people. After that, you have to rely on your contractor training program. As technology changes, we need to change, too. If you haven’t updated your contractor training program recently, it would be wise to do a review. Here are three lenses through which you can look at your program.
Are We Doing Enough Contractor Training Program Repetitions?
Accidents are an unfortunate reality in the rails and utility business. Occasionally you read about them in the paper. When that happens it’s an opportunity to take a look in the proverbial mirror. No matter how good your training program is, it never just stays the same. It will always need to grow and evolve with the technology and the equipment.
Here are some suggestions to help you make sure you have the right repetitions in your standards:
- Review the standards set for your repetitions before you have approved a contractor to execute the job.
- Ask your team whether these standards fully prepare a contractor to safely execute the job. Does the number of repetitions reflect the complexity of the new equipment and new designs?
- Ensure that your training programs enforce your standards. Standards mean nothing if they aren’t put into practice.
Do Our Contractor Training Landmarks/Goals Meet Current Needs?
The old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” But that’s not quite true. Practicing the wrong thing or practicing inadequately will only reinforce poor performance. Perfect practice makes perfect. Consider how your training landmarks reflect the actual skills your contractors will need.
Top performers study past accidents and ask how those employees were trained. You can learn a great deal about safety from incidents where training has failed. If you can identify skills they lacked that might cause an accident, you can include it as a landmark in your own training program. Here are some questions to ask:
- What exactly were they required to do before completing their training?
- Are your contractors getting training on each step of their work?
- Do you need to add more landmarks for your new contractors to achieve before the training wheels come off?
Setting the right landmarks ensures that your repetitions teach the skills that your contractors need to ensure safety.
Have We Done Enough “Game Speed Training?”
Training does not begin with full speed, high-pressure activities. New employees aren’t asked to parachute into new environments and operate machinery at top speed. Progression is required. What’s important is that, at some point, your trainees do reach full speed while still within the training program.
When the job heats up and the pressure mounts, you want your employees to have trained in high-speed situations. That way, they can remain calm and react as they were trained to do, minimizing mistakes and accidents.
The goal of every safety program is zero accidents, but it requires a well-designed, up-to-date safety training program. As technology changes, your training program should, too. Use the above guidance to help you review your training program.
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*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.