When is eLearning more than training? When it’s a lifesaver. When it comes to safety compliance training, what your employees don’t know can hurt them. In fact, it can maim them—or do much worse—in a split second of inattention or carelessness. Safety compliance training is meant to educate and protect your employees.
But let’s face it: Compliance training doesn’t have a very good reputation. Few employees really want to, well, comply. Although it is mandated by company policy, industry organizations or regulatory authorities, not many employees see it as important. Why?
There are many reasons. Some think it’s silly. Many think that the risks the training is intended to build awareness of are slim. “It’ll never happen to me,” summarizes a common attitude. Other believe it’s unnecessary because “I’m always careful.” But the facts tell a different story.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2015, which occurred at a rate of 3.0 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers.
Of the approximately 2.9 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2015, nearly 2.8 million (95.2 percent) were injuries. Among injuries, nearly 2.1 million (75.0 percent) occurred in service-providing industries, which employed 82.5 percent of the private industry workforce. The remaining nearly 0.7 million injuries (25.0 percent) occurred in goods-producing industries, which accounted for 17.5 percent of private industry employment.
And then there’s this: “Making a living shouldn’t have to cost you your life. Workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses are preventable. Safe jobs happen because employers make the choice to fulfill their responsibilities and protect their workers.” – Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
No one would disagree that making a living should not cost a life. But it does. In 2014, 4,821 workers died on the job, an average of 13 per day.
So how can employers overcome the negative attitudes surrounding safety compliance training when the real-world stakes are so high? How can they motivate employees to take it seriously and move from their casual nice-to-know thinking to a need-to-know urgency?
The content that is included in compliance training is mandated, so we asked the question, how can the material be framed and delivered in a way that captures attention? Leveraging a storytelling approach, we created hypothetical scenarios based on mishaps that befell workers who believed accidents would “never happen to them.”
Two overriding themes run through our safety compliance training courses. One is an acceptance that, believe it or not, accidents do happen and here are the true-to-life consequences played out in eye-opening detail through the experiences of fictional workers.
The other theme appeals to workers’ sense of responsibility to their families or loved ones. In other words, if you won’t do this for yourself, do it for those who care about you most and who depend on you. After all, the ones who will suffer most if employees are gone or unable to work are those they neglected by not taking safety compliance training seriously in the first place.
So don’t just give employees facts about safety. Instead, wrap them in stories that raise the stakes. More employees will take safety compliance training seriously when they’re asked to imagine the consequences of not doing so for those they care most about.