Safetip #58: Use Effectiveness of Training as a Leading Indicator

December 07, 2016

This week’s Safetip is about leading indicators and measuring the effectiveness of a training program. Whereas lagging indicators measure what has already occurred, leading indicators measure initiatives that aim to improve safety performance moving forward. By measuring leading indicators, organizations can determine if they are on a path of continuous improvement, and whether they are being proactive in safety to prevent future incidents.

Training is a Top Leading Indicator

In an EHS Today survey on leading indicators, training was mentioned as a leading indicator by 80.9% of respondents. Participation in safety training was the , behind near misses and employee audits/observations.

There are many indicators that can be tracked to evaluate participation in training. An EHS Daily Advisor article lists the following ones:

  • Number of training hours provided.
  • Number of workers who receive training of a specific type.
  • Percentage of new employees who complete orientation each quarter.
  • Percentage of training programs completed, compared to those assigned or required.
  • Percentage of workers who complete job-related training each quarter.

Measure Effectiveness, Not Just Participation

Can safety improve if workers attend training sessions, but remember little or nothing? Probably not. This is why the effectiveness of the training must also be measured as a leading indicator, not just participation in the training.

The Campbell Institute released a white paper on leading indicators in 2015, and for one research participant simply tracking training hours is not enough. The organization also measures the effectiveness of training through checks and quizzes of safety knowledge two, three or four months after the training has been completed, the white paper says. The checks don’t just verify whether the training was completed, they also verify whether workers remember months later the safety principles that were taught.

Just like the Campbell Institute’s white paper, the EHS Daily Advisor article also mentions the following training records:

  • Scores on post-training tests and evaluations.
  • Whether worker evaluations of their training are positive or negative.

The article says that this data can be plotted against other information, such as: 1) type of training (live, computer-based, etc.), 2) trainer’s credentials, and 3) training’s length of time. This gives an idea of what factors are contributing to greater understanding.

In summary, the two takeaways are: 1) Use training as a leading indicator, 2) Measure the effectiveness of a training program, not just participation.

Visit Enablon Insights again next Wednesday for a brand new Safetip!

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