Understanding Safety / SMS Basic

Safety Training

Each organisation should establish its own safety training programme, with the scope being appropriate to each individual’s involvement in the SMS. Safety training can be done both internally or be outsourced externally. External training by third-party has in many cases some advantages, like offering the different view and alternative approaches to issues and ideas. The safety manager should decide on the required training for each individual or group of people/ department without forgetting the cost and lost productivity of this training. Some management levels may require a full course on SMS, including the development, concept, management and working practises of the system. On the other-hand some front-line employees may only need a basic understanding. The needs and complexities of daily activities should be considered for this decision. A vital point for everyone to know, both in the organisation as well as the 3rd parties, is the awareness and understanding of the safety policy, including the safety culture and the non-punitive and just approach is outlined, as well as the management’s commitment to this. Another important aspect to be made fully aware by everyone is the communication channels, i.e. how to report an event, how to ask for feedback etc Training needs analysis with the consultation of the authorities or external training providers is a good starting point. This will ensure efficient training delivery – right training to the right people using the right methods).

All training should be documented and it is in the best interest of the organisation that this training is recurring and constantly developed. As safety is everyone’s responsibility, each trainee should understand his/her responsibilities towards safety and the competency of the trainee must be assured. The training programme should be documented and controlled, inviting inputs from various departments. Small baby steps are required in the beginning, Design the programme to be gradually advancing by each training sessions.

As the Accountable/ Executive Manager is the responsible and accountable person for safety, a special training session can be designed for him/her. Similarly, the department managers should as a minimum be trained on practical hazard identification and risk management, establishing strong safety culture, establishing-monitoring and assessing safety performance indicators and understanding safety assurance.

Providing the appropriate training to all staff provides visibility and knowledge making everyone a contributing individual. It is nice to remember that making safety training a box ticking sessions will have negative effects on the culture. Safety training does not have to be a classroom session, as the IT delivery methods can outperform in most cases the requirements. A positive point though, is that employees should have a session where they can meet the safety team and openly ask questions or make suggestions. This session can be a company wide safety forum or smaller sessions.

Safety training must be evaluated. Feedback must be sought by the trainees but most importantly identify tangible organisation benefits. There the safety training requires its own safety performance indicator. (e.g. increase in reports, better feedback, less incidents etc). It is essential and beneficial for the members of the safety office to receive external training and visit safety fora to remain up to date with industry standards and practices, as well as getting updated on new initiatives etc.