At the current moment, the health and life of thousands of employees all over Canada are endangered because they are not provided with adequate health and safety training. Usually, employers do not realize the great necessity of the establishment of such training and supervision of the performance of workers for the assurance that they perform their tasks in an appropriate manner and in safe conditions. The current essay reflects such an understanding of the importance of health and safety training for the company and its employees. It is notable, that all workers, irrespective of their age, gender, professionalism, and area of working should obtain information concerning the existing hazards in their working place. Hence, providing such information should be organized and funded by companies and their senior managers as this support the working environment and workers’ behavior, which have a considerable influence on the effectiveness of learning and realization of obtained knowledge and skills. The final part of the paper provides a description of the incorporation of health and safety training into the Instruction Design Model of the company for increasing its positive effect. The evidence of the necessity of such training and providing a description of methodologies for its implementation show considerable benefits of these actions reflected in the assurance of protection of workers’ health and life.
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The Importance of the Safety Training
According to the official statistics, Canadian employees do not receive appropriate safety training in their working places: “nearly 60,000 Canadian workers reported that only 12% of women and 16% of men had received workplace safety training in the previous year” (Book). Various companies do not perform organizational training due to a great variety of reasons: the lack of understanding of the necessity of granting the safety of employees, unwillingness to spend time and resources on training, etc. However, managers should recognize that health and safety learning has numerous benefits: corresponding to the official standards and elimination of payment of penalties for breach of these standards; absence of damage of equipment; lowering insurance payments; holding the trust of employees and clients; and holding a reliable public face. However, the major benefit provided by these studies is the assurance of the safety of the health and life of people who work in the company.
All workers, irrespective of their age, gender, race, experience level and type of job, can be endangered during the performance of their working tasks. That is why; safety training should be performed in all companies, institutions, and organizations all over the country. Additional attention should be paid to the education of low-wage earners and non-union members as they “face greater barriers to training access in the workplace” (Book).
The safety training of employees aims to provide and protect the rights and health of workers. In the PowerPoint Presentation the basic rights of all Canadian employees are described as follows: “right to know, right to participate and right to refuse unsafe work”. The book provides a similar definition of the rights of employees. The right to know is considered to be the right of being informed concerning unsafe or dangerous machinery (equipment) and materials in the workplace. The right to participate is reflected in the ability to take an active part in the protection of personal safety and health. As it is noted in the PowerPoint Presentation, the rights of employees include the ability to refuse of unsafe work in the case when they are instructed to make the work that, as per their personal consideration, is unsafe, or if they are given directions to work on equipment that, as per their personal opinion, could be dangerous for themselves or health of other people because it is not in good repair.
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Hence, the vital role of safety training in any organization is enabling the fulfillment of the described basic rights of its employees. That is why workers – especially new workers – should obtain detailed information about these rights. It can be performed during the safety orientation prior to the commencement of work. Negligence in providing initial training to newcomers can endanger the health and safety of these people and other workers of the company, cause damage to the equipment, lead to worsening the appearance of the company and losing clients because these people have no understanding of the possible hazards of their new working environment. Hence, the performance of safety orientation to new employees is essential for the assurance of safety and high quality of the working process.
After obtaining a clear understanding that employees know their basic rights concerning safety and health protection at the working place, managers should assure that this knowledge will be used during the working process. The assurance of upholding the described rights can be performed through special safety-related training. There is a great variety of training because in different working conditions employees are subject to various threats.
As it was stated above, every employee has the right to know about the unsafe and dangerous conditions of the work. With respect to this right, employees should be provided with training that contains information concerning potential dangers at their working place. With regard to the right to refuse to work in unsafe or dangerous conditions, workers should obtain information that will enable them to assess the extent of safety of the working environment and equipment. This can be performed through special safety training. It should be noted that the provision of such training “is mandated in OH&S acts across the country” (Book). Additional attention should be paid to the Amendment to the Canadian Criminal Code under the name Bill C-45 (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, 2015). This document established duties concerning the health and safety of the working environment and imposed severe penalties for the violation of these duties or working conditions, which could lead to employees’ injury and death. These rules are applied to various types of organizations and “their representatives, and those who direct the work of others” (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, 2015). Moreover, the importance of health and safety training is widely recognized outside the Canadian boarders. For example, health and safety training is an essential component of American OH&S. They are provided with information concerning “employer commitment, hazard surveillance, hazard control and prevention, and program evaluation” (Book).
The example of specific training directed on the elimination of simultaneous texting and driving in the trucking company was described in notes. This issue is considered to endanger the health and life of drivers and other people. Moreover, it is even more dangerous than drink-drive (Notes). Various strategies were proposed for addressing this issue. Some of them are directed on charging employees. The others have the goal to stipulate inception and further development of positive behavior by using a special reward policy. Also, these strategies form a background for the creation of special training of safe driving. It is proposed to equip employees with Bluetooth or other similar equipment that will enable automatic reply. The effectiveness of the realization of the developed strategy can be evaluated on the background of the information obtained from special cameras put in the vehicles.
The company and managers should pay additional attention to the content of the training. As was described in the book, the employee’s death at the Englishtown Ferry is closely connected with the lack of appropriate training and providing necessary information concerning the dangerous conditions and factors, which may make these conditions even stricter (Book). In this particular case “the trainer had not provided any training on operating the tractor on the ramp itself or under poor weather conditions, having determined that such conditions were too dangerous for individuals who were learning these skills” (Book). It means that the appropriate analysis of the working conditions, existing emergency procedures, and responses, hazard assessment is very important to assure that employees obtain all necessary skills and knowledge for safeguarding their health and life.
Additional emphasis should be made on the fact that failure to provide safe treatment to employees or information concerning any hazards or dangers at the working place could place them in hazardous situations and lead to injuries of employees and even their death. As noted in the book, “many to youth who are injured at work report they were not aware of the life-threading hazards in the workplace or basic safety rules that would have helped them avoid injury”. That means that employees’ life and health can be threatened because of the absence of health and safety training.
The Importance of Senior Management and Organizational Support of Safety Training
It is notable that the effectiveness and efficiency of health and safety training depend greatly on the extent of support from senior managers and the whole company. Managers and directors should clearly recognize the great importance of these learning for assurance of the safety of the health and life of employees and eliminate any issues, which will be mentioned below. This support can be obtained during the implementation of one of the initial elements of the Instruction Design Model – need analysis – through the development of friendly relationships with managers. This support is necessary to assure that employees can obtain information concerning the hazards of their working conditions and pass safety training in many different ways, like social, formal and informal (Notes). It should be noted that organizations should establish training before the newcomer will start his work, periodical training, emergency training and training after accidents. It is necessary to assure that employees have a clear understanding of the existing hazards in their working places and have the necessary knowledge and skills for the safe performance of their working tasks. Such knowledge and skills will minimize the possibility of occurrence of any accidents and injuries, or lower the negative effect of any force-majors, and eliminate penalties for non-correspondence to official standards. Organizations and senior managers should ascertain that the offered training programs comply with the set standards to the operational performance in their jurisdiction’s occupational health and safety act (Book).
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Moreover, the support of senior management and the overall company is necessary for making health and safety training successful, because it enables the access of trainers and employees to all the necessary resources. The extent of the organization’s support of the company has an influence on the effectiveness of workers’ “hazard awareness training …improvements in attitudes toward fall safety” (Book). The United States Department of Labor (n.d.) on its official site noted that organizational factors play a major role in predicting safe work behaviors: “compliance with standard precautions was increased when workers felt that their institution had a strong commitment to safety”. That means that every employee should clearly understand that the company cares about his or her health and safety and pay attention to working conditions and existing threats. Organizational support can be reflected by the development and improvement of working schedules of health and safety training and collaboration between various departments (Carayon, 2012). Such support may also be reflected in the form of rewards to employees who successfully implement health and safety practices in their work. Senior managers should pay additional attention to the fact that the extent of such regard should reflect the actual improvement of workers’ skills and abilities connected with health and safety assurance at the working place.
Moreover, these people should “share a norm for the importance of this support” (Salas & Frush, 2013). Their involvement is necessary for upholding and encouraging positive outcomes of health and safety training. It is linked with the workers’ adherence to safe practices. Moreover, senior managers should match health and safety training goals with the organizational goals, provide assurance of organizational support, acquire resources and evaluate outcomes. These people play a considerable role in the formation of the safety culture.
Senior managers from attitudes towards health and safety policies. Better attitudes will lead to greater support in the form of fund investments and setting aside the necessary time for the development and implementation of the model. The weak safety climate (that shows that the company pays insufficient attention to its health and safety procedures) can be improved by increasing the company’s attention to health and safety issues and performance of the additional communication with its workers concerning these issues. It is necessary for building a strong background for the further effective implementation of the training program.
Description and Implementation of the Instruction Design (ISD) Model
ISD model is a special design model applied for the creation of the training program. This program is based on the determination and assessment of the organizational needs related to health and safety, definition of performance gaps that can lead to injuries and employees’ death, and analysis of the organizational culture concerning safety, evaluation of health and safety training design and delivery of courses (Notes). As it is stated in the book, this model is based on the three major elements: needs analysis, training design and evaluation of training (Book).
Implementation of health and safety training should be started from the determination of the organizational needs. These needs may be represented by the assessment of the possibility of occurrence of injuries or safety incidents, which can happen, already took place or were described by different OH&S government bodies (Book). Managers of the company may develop a special training program aimed at preventing incidents. Moreover, the performance of safety training can be required by the official representatives after the implementation of new legislation concerning health and safety in working place.
The necessity of the performance of needs analysis prior to the development of the ISD model is based on the understanding that this action will help to determine the nature of safety issues and existing discrepancies between the existing and desired safety of working conditions.
Needs analysis is based on the following parts: “assessing the organization, the task or job at hand, and the employee(s) in question” (Book). These elements help to determine the goals, strategies, structure, content and the way of delivery of the ISD Model. This element of the model is based on organizational, task and person analyses. Organizational analysis is necessary for the examination of resources, strategy and environment of the company for assessing its support for training. This analysis enables the identification of skills and knowledge of workers that should be developed or/and improved.
After the analysis of the existing problems, senior managers should assure the developed ISD Model, and health and safety strategies should correspond to the organizational safety goals and strategies. Also, the company should have enough resources (like finances, training facilities, access to union’s resources) for the effective creation and realization of the described model.
Then, senior managers should assess job tasks that need health and safety training. They should identify the jobs and employees who should pass general or specific training on the background of possible hazards of the working process. Employees should be provided with detailed descriptions of their job tasks, duties, responsibilities, risks connected with their position as well as necessary knowledge and skills for the performance of these tasks safely. This stage can also identify the causes and consequences of safety issues and the ways of their rectification.
Organizations should perform a personal analysis of all employees who work in an unsafe environment. It is necessary for finding out the training needs of particular workers. Also, it helps to determine who needs to be trained by comparison of the current and desired performance of the working tasks. Observation, work samples, and tests represented the most common methods of assessment of personal performance. Information obtained from this evaluation helps to create an effective ISD Model oriented on the improvement of the safety of particular individuals or the whole staff (depending on the nature of the problem).
The information obtained from the assessment of organizational safety needs is transformed into the actual training initiative by making some pertinent decisions (Book). These decisions concern the objectives of health and safety training, way of obtaining the program (designation or purchasing), the content of the program, the place of the training and involved individuals. The training content is determined on the background of organizational needs and personal skills and knowledge of employees, official requirements, existing hazards, etc. It should achieve the training objectives in the most effective way.
The managers should choose the most suitable form of health and safety training (on-the-job and off-the-job; training with the application of technology or without it). Their choice depends on the operations performed by the organization, its goals, resources, existing hazards and dangers of the working environment, etc. The company should also determine the place of training. During on-the-job training, learning is incorporated into the working process. Hence, experts may show ways of safe work on equipment. Off-the-job training is performed outside the work. Organizations may use training with various extents of participants’ activities for reaching different goals. Less active methods (for example, videos) facilitate the improvement of safe behavior in the short-term perspective, whereas more active methods (like interactive) usually have a more long-lasting and stronger effect on the employees’ behavior. Such training as simulation involves behavioral modeling. The effectiveness of the training in the long-term perspective can be supported by the establishment of periodic refresher courses for the recall of health and safety knowledge and skills.
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The next stage of implementation of health and safety training is the determination of the involved parties, i.e. employees and trainers. It is necessary for the development of the curriculum of training. As it is noted in the book, “the decision of who enters the program is one that will have to be dealt with case by case”. Identification of the number of workers who will be trained simultaneously is also a relevant task. The workers within a single training group should have similar job characteristics for making the program more successful. Also, the author of the book noted that the effectiveness of learning depends on the size of the group: smaller groups usually show better outcomes (Book). Moreover, the success of the training program is influenced by the professionalism, knowledge and social skills (communication and interaction) of the trainer.
The last stage of the realization of health and safety training is their evaluation. This process has its design and special evaluation criteria for the determination of the extent of the added value (Book). Also, evaluation of health and safety training can help to identify weak sides of the learning for their effective and timely rectification. The author of the book proposed to use Kirkpatrick’s hierarchical model for the evaluation of health and safety training. It concerns the following matters: a reflection of positive attitudes and organizational results, coverage of learning material and application of the learned material for changing the working behavior. The information for these studies can be obtained through special professional safety surveys, questionnaires, and workers’ on-the-job performance. The outcomes may be analyzed during the process of learning or after it.
The evaluation of the effectiveness of health and safety training can be performed on the background of various important organizational outcomes. These outcomes may be reflected in the lowering of the number of incidents, injuries and fatality rates. Additional attention should be paid to the amount of lost-time injuries, which are considered to be workplace injuries and oblige workers to miss their working time. Learning should decrease the number of close calls reflected in the consistent events that lead to safety incidents. The author of the book also noted such relevant outcomes as absenteeism as “the objective factor that may be of particular importance in evaluating health-related training programs designed to reduce stress” (Book). Much attention should be paid to lowering organizational expenses on safety reflected in decreasing employees’ compensation claims and costs related to injuries, and employee benefit costs for occupational therapy and physiotherapy. The last important organizational outcome that will be mentioned in the current work is the improved performance of both internal and external inspections.
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In conclusion, it should be noted that the current work provides evidence about the great importance of health and safety training. Some companies do not perform such training because they do not clearly understand the relevance and advantages that they provide. Some of these advantages are connected with the overall organizational performance: lowering expenses on insurance payments; corresponding to officially set standards of safety; eliminating damage of the equipment, and improvement of the appearance of the company. The major advantages are connected with the assurance of the safety of workers’ health and life. They are reflected in the decreasing of number of incidents, injuries and fatalities; minimization of absenteeism; lowering expenses on compensation claims and therapies for workers; and elimination of coverage of lost-time injuries. All these advantages can be obtained only with the support of senior management and the whole company. Senior management facilitates the development and improvement of safe working behavior and necessary culture, while companies provide support in the form of resources and time. This support is necessary for the effective realization of the common methods of health and safety training – The instruction Design Model of Training. This model comprises three basic elements: needs analysis, training design, and evaluation of training. It can be applied to a great variety of working conditions and employees of various specializations. This model enables providing and protecting the following basic rights of employees concerning hazards of their work: the right to know, the right to participate and the right to refuse from unsafe work.