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To maintain an effective safety program, and to adequately protect your employees from workplace incidents, you need to ensure that all of your employees are thoroughly trained and up-to-date on their training. If you’re not a safety expert, it can be difficult to know when your employees will need to be retrained or receive refresher training. Read on for some basic guidelines for knowing when to refresh safety training.

Regulation-mandated schedules

Many training topics must be refreshed or retrained on a particular schedule. For example, for HAZWOPER certification, OSHA requires an initial 24- or 40-hour training course, with an 8-hour refresher course every year after. For First Aid, a full-course retraining is required every three years to maintain certification, and CPR/AED certification expires after two, without retraining. For any safety or other training aspects result in or require certification, it’s likely that there is a length of time that the certification is valid for, after which retraining will be required. For all of the training necessary in your organization, find out if there are any mandated training schedules.

After a safety culture survey or inspection/audit

Safety culture surveys and routine walkthroughs can provide you with a wealth of information about how safe practices are (or are not) being implemented in your organization. If survey results find that employees don’t feel they have enough training, you can use that information to assign more training on relevant topics. And if you or other employees notice or call out any unsafe practices or behavior, those can be addressed and rectified by refreshing training on the subject. See employees carrying heavy containers while on ladders? In addition to discussing the issue then and there, perhaps refresh everyone’s ladder safety training.

After a near miss or incident

If a near miss or incident does occur, it points to a hole in your safety program. Unsafe practices rarely stem from the recklessness of an individual–after all, no one wants to get injured or nearly injured–but from a lack of knowledge and understanding, a failure in the system. If this type of event were to ever occur, take the opportunity to reinforce the importance of safety to individuals, others, and the company as a whole, and retrain employees on the safety issue at hand.

As a general rule…

When it comes to taking care of your people, you’d rather be safe than sorry; for crucial safety training, it can’t hurt to retrain your employees every year. Instituting a company-wide annual training schedule can help ensure that employees are trained on the most up-to-date regulations and requirements, and it can also help normalize safety training and make it a part of your company culture. Using a learning management system is a great way to keep training on track by doing the work of scheduling it for you. Just set the schedule and forget it, and every year you and your employees will be reminded to retrain.

If you and your employees could use a refresher in your safety training, give eSafety a call. We have training programs on the federal safety regulations that affect your company, and an LMS that makes implementing and managing training easy.