10 Steps to an Effective Safety Induction
In response to this recent article by Workcover NSW I suggest the following.
- The consideration for all inductions is to make them effective, simplicity doesn’t guarantee effectiveness. Neither is simplicity the place to start.
- The place to start with the challenge of inductions is consultation. Consult people who know about learning and instructional design, these are not obtained by either WHS or TAE Diplomas. Remember training is not learning and content about regulation doesn’t teach competence in managing risk. Let a learning expert help you with learning design including graphics, multimedia, learning styles and group discussion.
- Consider the importance of the Hidden Curriculum. This is critical. It is not what is overt in the induction that is the problem but what workers learn covertly through the induction. Eg. that safety is about dumb down thinking, regulation, fear, compliance, paperwork, hazards and policing. Have a look at what people hate about inductions and don’t do them. One of the best lessons currently taught in safety inductions is that inductions are: boring, repetition, irrelevant, about fear and compliance and that dumb down is good.
- Consider the trajectory (by-products) of the Hidden Curriculum. What will workers be inducted into? What will they learn (overtly and covertly)?
- Focus on risk not hazards and keep away as much as possible from regulation, law and engineering content. Learning is all about process priority not content priority. If workers are on a building and construction site do not repeat anything they have done in a white card or any simplistic stuff they already know. Try not to give out documentation and avoid text as much as possible. If you are using powerpoint slides try to have minimal text (no more than 3 or 4 words per slide).
- Don’t lecture, don’t tell war stories, don’t rave on, don’t brag, don’t give history lessons, don’t treat workers like children, avoid classroom design, avoid slogans, don’t recite anything about the WHS Act.
- Ensure your induction involves a walk and talk for familiarization.
- Make experiential learning a priority.
- Focus the induction on the cause of incidents eg. overconfidence, tick and flick, perception, motivation, conversation, consultation, teaming, crosschecking, rushing, misdirection.
- Make the induction positive, creative, innovative and engaging.