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  • Writer's pictureWillie Maritz

The simple reason workplace accidents happen

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

and why occupational health and safety courses don’t produce results

No matter how many thousands of dollars are spent on occupational health and safety courses, workplace accidents keep being repeated, year after year.

And no, it’s not because your employees lack the ability to learn. Research has long shown that people retain less than half of the information presented in training courses within one hour and more than 70 percent of what was taught in training in one day. That goes down to 25% in a week.

So, if 75% of what has been taught during your health and safety courses has been forgotten within a week, something is going wrong.

You know this to be true, that the behavioural change that will result in fewer accidents at work, and meaningful adherence to your health and safety policy, plans, procedures and systems, is simply not happening.

If you’re not getting the return on investment from health and safety courses, there’s a good explanation for it.

The missing link in health and safety training courses

The reason you’re not achieving the conscientious mindset you need from your staff is because of the disconnect between what has been taught, and employees’ ability or willingness to apply it.

Courses can teach skills and knowledge, but the real challenge lies in motivating employees to implement the required behaviour changes that will show that they have actually learned from what has been taught.

Complaining about continued workplace accidents won’t help

How many times have you repeated a certain instruction to employees, only to see them repeating the same thing again?

The truth is that learning doesn’t happen through top-down instruction, it is a gradual process in which the person assimilates behaviours through what he or she is repeatedly exposed to.

We call it learning from awareness, to care.

How to develop company-wide care about health and safety in the workplace

The secret to developing care about health and safety is to always bring employees back to the need for doing things in a particular way.

If, for example, a crane’s rig is loaded incorrectly, it can cause the crane to tip, resulting in people being injured or killed. If there was a way the potentially devastating effect of that could be demonstrated, it would create an understanding for the need to follow the procedure for loading rigs.

Behavioural change learning campaigns raise awareness, broaden understanding, and motivate your employees to care more about health and safety in the workplace, through a tried and trusted method.

Using Social Learning and technology together, people can be constantly connected back to the need to be on a learning journey that will lead to fewer accidents at work. What you really want is for them to think about health and safety whilst on the job. The aim is to elicit common sense around the health and safety training that is already instilled within the person and bring it to the fore of their workday.

To create sustainable behaviour change, employees need to access the information on a daily basis, in a manner that makes them think and interact within their social sphere; only then will real results occur. This is the power of a behavioural change campaign.

To find out more about behavioural change learning campaigns click here

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