(Note: This article is based on the newly revised, 2016 version of ANSI Z490.1.)
Hello. We’re back with our continuing look at effective EHS training. The series takes its cues from and expands on the ANSI Z490.1 standard on EHS training.
In this post, we’re going to take an in-depth look at Section 5, which is all about delivering EHS training.
The strong focus is on the EHS trainer in this one, plus there’s some stuff about training delivery and training materials.
If you want to download our free 42-page Guide to Effective EHS Training just click that link you just whizzed past. Or you’ll get another chance at the bottom of this article.
So with that said, let’s learn more about effective EHS training delivery, including trainers, training delivery, and training materials, right?
As we mentioned earlier, this section addresses EHS training delivery and focuses on the following:
Let’s look at each of those in closer detail below.
Effective EHS trainers should share a set of characteristics. They should:
When you’re designing and developing EHS training, you should specify all necessary qualifications for any EHS trainer who will lead that training.
Those qualifications may include subject matter expertise, training experience, and training delivery skill.
Subject matter expertise: This means knowledge of the EHS subject they’ll be teaching. The trainer may need technical knowledge, skills, or abilities to lead training on the topic effectively. The trainer doesn’t have to be Einstein, but does need to know his or her stuff. The word “appropriate” seems key here.
Training delivery skills: This means knowledge of effective manners of delivering training, with a particular emphasis on knowing and appealing to adult learning principles.
Trainers should keep their subject matter expertise and training delivery skills sharp and current through continuing education and other professional development opportunities. Training program administrators should create documents that show how EHS trainers comply to these expectations. This can include resumes, continuing education certificates, licenses, registrations, and/or simple experience sheets. There’s no one defined way to do this properly–just do it.
Delivery of effective EHS training and EHS training materials includes:
Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
This stage includes getting the trainer ready. Most notably, this means making sure the trainer:
Learning happens best in an appropriate learning environment that meets the needs of the trainees. In particular, the training environment should:
In addition, the learning environment should be one that helps facilitate learning. The Association for Talent Development has some good books on this kind of stuff.
And, if any training materials or aids will be used in the training session, there must be an adequate supply for all trainees, and they must be in good, operating condition.
Lastly, although this isn’t mentioned in ANSI Z490.1, a lot of research shows that workers are more likely to remember information from training and apply that training on the job if the training occurs in the same environment that the workers will later be expected to apply the training (the work area). This isn’t possible every time for a number of reasons, but try to take advantage of this when possible. Or, try to have them train with equipment and materials that will present the same visual clues they’ll see in the work area (“that handle” on the machine, “that row” on the spreadsheet,” etc.).
Now let’s look at the requirements regarding training delivery methods and materials.
The first thing the trainer should do is to be familiar with the training delivery methods and training materials that were designed and created during the training development phase of this process and to apply them so that the learning objectives are supported. For more about training development and learning objectives, please see our previous post in this series: Designing EHS Training.
In addition, the trainer should make appropriate use of adult learning principles. In explaining this more fully, ANSI Z490.1 states that “at a minimum,” the trainer should:
Click to read more about how to apply adult learning principles during safety training.
Finally, the trainer also has to ensure appropriate communication and feedback during the training. One of the fundamental concepts of training is that you’ve got to give the learners (or trainees, or employees, or whatever you want to call them) the chance to ask questions, get feedback on their questions or performances, and generally feel free to communicate openly and effectively about the training topic. Trainers should foster an environment that encourages and supports questions and comments, and they should build-in opportunities for practice and feedback. Remember to always create an atmosphere in which the learners feel safe asking questions; never make fun of or shame people when they ask something.
Learn how to design, create, deliver, and evaluate effective EHS training by following these best practices with our free step-by-step guide.