The impact of training, can it be assessed?

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Every company, when planning their training activities, determines what must be their specific objectives and the improvements and outcomes they want to achieve with the substantial investment of time and money invested these training activities.

Safety training can be easily divided into two parts: The acquisition of knowledge and skills, which, to be an effective acquisition, must form an indivisible part of worker training, and the implementation of a Safety Culture that allows the worker to learn about the importance of safety as one of its core values.

The assessment of the acquisition of knowledge and skills is simple. It is enough to check if the worker has learned to perform their work, but the assessment of a safety culture is more complicated.

Therefore, when assessing training in safety for a culture of safety, we must consider intangible terms such as “knowledge”, “safety culture”, “habits” that are not quantifiable with simple mathematical indicators; but if we want (or rather, need) to determine the positive impact of training, we must quantify.

Before assessing, the first thing to do is to determine the objectives: obviously there is a huge range of possibilities, but a clear objective is to promote a safety culture in the company; an important but ignored aspect that should be in all training activities a company.

Well, determining how to increase or promote a safety culture is obviously not easy. It has a clear relationship with the habits of workers and workers’ feelings towards the company and their work; but it can be measured. We cannot settle for measuring the reduction in accidents, checking the evolution of accident rates at the end of the year; we must analyse the situation before determining subjective values ​​of workers periodically asking workers to meet the changing values ​​and thus know how to approach our goal.

With this, we can measure the impact of training under the Kirkpatrick model:

  • measure the REACTION, common practice today is to deliver a questionnaire with indicators to assess it.
  • measuring LEARNING, it is a common tendency to think it is an examination; but when assessing the change in culture and/or habits a test is too imprecise. It would require, if we have reliable indicators, analysing pre-training habits, previous culture, employee satisfaction, to determine how perception has changed after the training
  • measuring BEHAVIOUR  will require time, and again, analysis of the situation both before and after training, verifying that changed habits have been achieved
  • measuring RESULTS can be done the wrong way, with indicators such as accidents, and allocating 100% of its variation to training, ignoring factors beyond training that may be incurred in the accident and factors pertaining to training such as cost savings and increased productivity inherent in any safety action

We must add that with these data, we can determine the ROI, verify the incremental benefit and reduction of expense of the investment in training.

The conclusion is clear, safety training is just the beginning of the road if you want to go beyond formal compliance with Article 19 of the LPRL. Implementing a real safety culture that results in both lower claims and higher productivity and lower absenteeism must be interpreted as a Deming cycle in which training is the main weapon that we have available.


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