HR & Management
How refresher training can cut workroom accidents and increase output
7 min read
19 June 2018
Woodworking machine manufacturing company Daltons Wadkin has come a long way in its 117-year history. MD Alex Dalton explains how refresher training can prevent accidents, increase productivity, and sustain growth when building a business that can stand the test of time.
Typically, putting in a request for some refresher training for your staff can be seen as a possible insult. It could perhaps be perceived as suggesting to your staff that the job they’ve been doing for the last year or so simply isn’t good enough. But in the advancing worlds of industry, office and social work spaces, every member of staff, no matter what role they have, can benefit from some effective refresher training.
Don’t wait for a hazardous incident before scheduling refresher training
According to the government’s Health and Safety Executive, an estimated 621, 000 UK workers suffered from a serious injury in the last year alone. Though the causes of these incidents are unknown, this figure alone should be enough motivation to consider some intensive safety, workplace and refresher training for your staff members. Especially in industries such as haulage, where the potential for dangerous incidents at work is at all-time high.
Don’t wait for an injury in your workplace before scheduling training, prevent it.
Train yourself, not just your staff
Staff members that work together in the same space for longer periods of time tend to build up a sense of community in their workplace. The more they get to know each other, the less roles are defined, and everyone becomes that little bit more equal.
And while this helps to promote the benefits of a healthy and communicative working environment, it can also have a negative impact on the respect your team members have for you as a leader.
Taking the time to run through the safety procedures, routines and order of service with your staff members can help to reassert yourself as a management figure – as well as refreshing your own memory too.
Avoid routine and complacency
Almost every workspace will have team members with a deep-set routine. Perhaps they’ve worked there for a long period, perhaps they feel they work better if every day is organised, or perhaps this is the order they believe tasks should be completed in.
But existing routines can lead to complacency and a tendency for laziness in the workplace – which, when you’re handling heavy machinery and dangerous equipment, is not a safe habit to fall into.
Refresher training can help to motivate your staff into attempting new styles of working, to re-establish the key values they were taught when they first began the job, and to encourage a break from the norm. This might just help them to identify problems in their existing routine, habits that go against their initial training, and motivate them to change.
Get the best out of existing staff members
A physical working routine can often lead to a mental rut as well, where your workforce has discarded their drive for improvement, and instead settle for the jobs they know how to do.
As part of their refresher training, why not offer them the option of first aid training as well – encouraging them to step up and take on a little extra responsibility at work. This can give your team members the motivation to do something different for the day, to educate themselves in a new field, and allow them to help you make your business a safer place to work.
This can also provide you with a chance to talk to your staff about issues that concern them or that they feel are distressing – health and safety issues cover all aspects of your workplace, including mental health and personal safety.
Keep up with new technology and advancement
For a company, such as Daltons Wadkin, which deals in heavy wood working machinery, new advances in technology are being introduced to us every day.
Using specialised courses of refresher training, you can help to remind your staff members of the safest procedures to use when handling such machinery – whether it’s a piece of kit they’ve used for years, or a new development they’re still getting to grips with.
Not only will this help to encourage safer engagement with these technologies, it also helps to promote your business as one that is fully prepared to take on new advancements and technological changes to your industry.
Highlight existing problems and potential hazards in your workplace
By spending the week before your refresher training observing how your office or workforce operate, you get the chance to identify the most urgent health and safety issues that need resolving.
Whether it’s making a note of the incidents themselves or simply spending a little longer on that portion of your training, understanding the hazards or potential dangers facing your staff can help you to prevent them from the inside out.
Scheduling a day of refresher training for your staff is an option every working industry should take. Not only can it help to prevent unsafe working environments and incorrect procedures, it can also help you to get the most out of your staff, with the knowledge they already have.
Alex Dalton is managing director of Daltons Wadkin. Founded in 1901, Daltons Wadkin is the UK’s longest established distributors and manufacturers of industrial woodworking machinery.