Get the Most Out of Safety Training

Get the Most Out of Safety Training

Back a week or so ago, I read a piece on Inside Towers that struck a nerve. You may have seen it here, entitled Get the Most Out of Safety Training. The focus was what to do to prepare for safety training, in order to achieve the best results from the training. A good piece, but I had a few thoughts.

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At least twice this year, the rescue of a cell tower worker has made national news. In both cases, the worker was rescued by the fire department. In both cases, it would have been a simple matter for the crew on site to perform the rescue themselves, had they had the equipment and skill to do so. All of those skills would be taught in our Standard Tower Safety & Rescue Certification class.

The question of how often training should occur one that is presented to me on a regular basis. The current training paradigm, as provided by OSHA, provides for annual training in rescue for at height workers. The training industry standard at the moment is re-certification every two years. This means, to be compliant, companies should be providing internal training every year in between. That said, the vast majority of students who come through my class for re-certification invariably state “I haven’t touched this stuff since the last time I took your class.” I find that infuriating.
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Photo by Jason Shivers, ©ARISTOTLE INC

Whether I spend a day, a week, or a month training a student, if they do not touch the skill again for two years, they will not be able to call upon it at the time they need it. It is a common misconception that, once a class has been taken, no further training is necessary. Were that true, firemen would have no need to train on a regular basis throughout their careers. Were that true, soldiers would never have to fire another round outside of combat after the basic rifle marksmanship course.  Rescue techniques, like most skills, are perishable. It is the responsibility of the worker to continue to practice these skills after the course has been taken and it behooves the employer to allow time for that or else risk becoming the focus of the next national news report.
Be Safe!
James Chiu
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