Water Well Journal

June 2015

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/515025

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Page 33 of 107

W ater well contracting companies that use heavy equipment use training to ingrain safety into the workplace. The importance of safety training extends well beyond a worker's introduction to the job. It also considers situations when a worker's job changes or when working conditions change. Without understanding the safety practices related to their job, a worker will be at a higher risk for workplace injury, illness, or even death. Company Culture When employees join a new workplace, they should be given an immediate sense the company places a high priority on safety. This should be ingrained into the company's culture as a whole. One way to do this is to have everyone, from the lowest wage workers to senior executives, show public support for and knowledge of safety programs. Employees should also learn about safety training through policies written out in detail and procedures laid out by the company. Safety Training Includes Studying Incidents Safety-oriented organizations learn from actual accidents and illnesses affecting workers' health. They study each inci- dent and make any necessary changes to policies and proce- dures to prevent similar accidents or illnesses in the future. Part of this process falls to the head of the safety program at the company. He or she oversees collecting incident data and reviews it with the assistance of an interdisciplinary team. Senior executives or the company owner delegates the devel- opment of better safety training to explain revised policies and procedures to managers. These managers make sure updated safety training programs clearly explain changes to policies and procedures to all affected workers. Safety Training Fits a Dynamic Organization Employees need safety training whenever their job changes in a substantial way. This is especially true when an employee is exposed to increased risk—when a person takes a new posi- tion, is given a change in duties, gets introduced to new equip- ment or changes in how equipment is used, or is introduced to new technology. New safety training should also be implemented when the employee works with at-risk workers or needs to satisfy the employer's insurance provider. Safety Training Responds to Identified Risks Company managers and safety leaders must lead the way when it comes to safety procedures. They are the ones who should be recommending new or improved safety training to prevent workplace accidents and illnesses. They can do this by keeping lines of communication open among workers throughout the company, including how safety data is shared between workers and management. Managers and safety lead- ers need input from all employees to identify risks facing the business and then use a team approach to develop methods of minimizing or preventing risks. Safety Training and OSHA Many standards promoted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration explicitly require the employer to train employees in the safety and health aspects of their jobs. Other OSHA standards make it the employer's responsibil- ity to limit certain job assignments to employees who are "certified," "competent," or "qualified"—meaning they've had special previous training, in or out of the workplace. These requirements reflect OSHA's belief that training is an essential part of every employer's safety and health program for protecting workers from injuries and illnesses. Many studies conclude, not surprisingly, those who are new on the job have a higher rate of accidents and injuries than more experienced workers. If ignorance of specific job hazards and proper work practices is even partly to blame for this higher injury rate, then training will obviously help provide a solution. As an example of the trend in OSHA safety and health training requirements, the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals standard contains several train- ing requirements. The standard requires the employer to evaluate or verify that employees comprehend the training given to them. This means the training to be given must have established goals and objectives regarding what is to be accomplished. Following the training, an evaluation would be conducted to verify the employees understood the subjects presented or acquired the desired skills or knowledge. If the established goals and objectives of the training program were not achieved as expected, the employer then would revise the training program to make it more effective, or conduct more frequent refresher training sessions, or some combination of the two. ALEXANDRA WALSH SAFETY TRAINING MAKES SENSE You need to know how to create a culture of safety at your firm. SAFETY MATTERS waterwelljournal.com 32 June 2015 WWJ

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