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Was your construction safety training clear enough?

October 15, 2018 Published in Firm News

With so many fatal and severe accidents in construction, it is no wonder that the industry has numerous regulations surrounding safety and training. Following these regulations is imperative in eliminating hazards and preventing future injuries (such as diseases due to exposure to harmful substances).

Many construction companies choose to comply to avoid expensive workers’ compensation claims and lawsuits. Perhaps your employer was one of them, and you received training before starting your job. But did your occupational safety program really do its job? The answer may be no.

The problem with some training materials

Using written training materials such as pamphlets and handouts is an effective method because the combination of words, charts, diagrams and pictures can make things clear and reach various types of learners. However, research has found a trending problem with these documents: They may be too difficult for the average worker to understand.

According to The Center for Construction Research and Training, many materials contain language and writing that go beyond the recommendation of an eighth-grade reading level. Construction workers may excel in their profession, but they are probably not proficient in technical writing and legal jargon. Using complex wording and sentence structures can create an obstacle in learning, leaving workers no more prepared than they were before reading the training material.

Traits of proper safety training

If you felt confused after reading safety brochures at your work or felt they did not help you at all, they may not have met communication standards. How can you tell? Well-written documents will usually have these traits:

  • A summary of the message at the top
  • Only one main message
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Bolded keywords and subheadings
  • A call to action 

If the materials your employer gave you lacked these features, your training may have been insufficient. This would make your employer even more accountable if you are involved in an accident at work.