A SAFETY MANAGEMENT APPROACH “Repetition – Good or Bad?”

Bob Lapidus, CSP, CSMS

A very common complaint amongst employees is being given the same training over and over again, seeing the same videos, getting the same handouts, and hearing the same talk year after year or even more often.

Yet, safety people are taught that repetition enhances the learning process.  It is good to hear the same information so it will stay with our employees.  Otherwise, they forget.

Let’s draw a middle ground here, understanding that repetition helps us keep knowledge and skills up to speed so we don’t forget, we don’t slip, and we don’t let our guard down.  That’s good.

What is bad is when we receive the same knowledge in the same way recurrently.  The manner to make repetition good is to provide it in a variety of formats.

We regularly provide information on safety-related topics, maybe even the same information so our fellow employees do not lose the essence of how to work safely, but we change the training methods and approaches.  We use different training techniques, keeping the material current, but bringing it alive so the men and women in our training programs remain focused and eager to learn more.

Online training is fine on a given topic the first time and then again every once in a while, but not as an ongoing diet.  Repeated programmed learning wallows, not allowing the trainee’s mind to want to receive the information again and again.

We have learned that face to face training with the opportunity to ask questions and interact is a far better way to learn for most people.

Inserting a variety of training techniques into our training programs provides trainers with the opportunity to repeat important safety concerns, rules, regulations, and how to work safely, in a style that enhances the training experience.  Interactive methods include such activities as:

  • The opportunity to ask questions and receive answers
  • Inclusion of quizzes and tests – written and hands-on
  • Actual hands-on activities in class and in the work environment
  • New videos with interesting dialogue, music, graphics, and a good pace
  • Facility and field explorations to help employees identify unsafe conditions and practices
  • Role playing
  • Trainee problem solving and presentations

Repeating what we need to know ingrains the details into our minds and helps us to remember how to do our work in a safe manner.  Receiving the repeated material in different forms gives the trainee various means to learn and remember what is needed.

For More Information:

Go to www.safetycenter.org for more information about Safety Center’s Safety Management Specialist Certificate.

After completing this nine-day program, graduates may take the exam to achieve the Certified Safety Management Specialist (CSMS) designation. Recipients of the CSMS receive a beautiful plaque and become part of an elite group of safety specialists who have achieved this recognition.  Once this certification is attained, successful candidates keep it for the rest of their lives without any additional requirements or fees.