Contractor Safety Induction Training


Contractor Induction Training

By the late George Robotham

At one start-up operation I developed a comprehensive safety induction program lasting 2 days and put about 300 people through the training over about a year. I used to feel very proud that they left the training very switched on about safety. The reality was within a few days of hitting the workplace they realised that my safety world I had spoken about was not reality, the safety culture of the organisation did not support my training. The very clear message is anyone seeking to introduce learning programs must do learning needs analysis first (refer to the paper Safety Training Needs Analysis on my web-site

The big question is how long do you spend on induction training? I have not got a good answer but suggest it is different for permanent employees and contractors. In these days of standardised industry induction programs a lot of people will have received a substantial safety needle prior to arriving on your site. The contractors go from site to site and sit through inductions at many sites. The last thing you need for these contractors is a protracted induction program that covers unnecessary old ground. For these people site specific arrangements may be enough.

Avoid lecture style presentations where possible and use interactive approaches (Refer to the paper Adult Learning Principles and Process on You have to appreciate you may not have a very positive audience particularly with contractors.

At the end of the day nothing beats learning needs analysis.

One experienced OHS professional expressed the view that inductions for contractors should not last more than a few hours and be a way for organisations to be able to take action against breaches / non-compliance. You cannot discipline people unless there is very clear evidence they know the rules.

George Robotham

George Robotham

George was a Legend in the Safety World who passed away in Sept 2013 but left us with a great legacy
George Robotham
I have worked in OHS for most of my working life, many years in the mining industry including over 10 years in a corporate OHS role with BHP. Since leaving the mining industry I have worked in a variety of safety roles with a variety of employers, large & small, in a variety of industries. I was associated with my first workplace fatality at age 21, the girl involved was young, intelligent, vivacious and friendly. Such a waste! I was the first on the scene and tried to comfort her and tend to her injuries. She said to me “George, please do not let me die” We put her on the aerial ambulance to Rockhampton base hospital where she died the next day. I do not mind telling you that knocked me around for awhile. Since then I have helped my employers cope with the aftermath of 12 fatalities and 2 other life-altering events. The section "Why do Occupational Health & Safety" provides further detail but in summary, poor safety is simply very expensive and also has a massive humanitarian cost. My qualifications include a certificate I.V. in Workplace Training and Assessment, a Diploma in Frontline Management, a Diploma in Training & Assessment Systems, a Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education) , a Grad. Cert. in Management of Organisational Change and a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management. I am currently studying towards a Masters in Business Leadership. Up until recently I had been a Chartered Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia for 10 years and a member for about 30 years. My interest is in non-traditional methods of driving organisational change in OHS and I have what I believe is a healthy dis-respect for many common approaches to OHS Management and OHS Training. I hold what I believe is a well-founded perception that many of the things safety people and management do in safety are “displacement activities” (Displacement activities are things we do, things we put a lot of energy into, but which when we examine them closely there is no valid reason for doing them). My managerial and leadership roles in OHS have exposed me to a range of management techniques that are relevant to Business Improvement. In particular I am a strong supporter of continuous improvement and quality management approaches to business. I believe leadership is the often forgotten key to excellence in most aspects of life. I hold the Australian Defence Medal and am a J.P.(Qualified). I have many fond memories of my time playing Rugby Union when I was a young bloke.

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