Here’s a question for you. Is safety training a waste of time?
For the sake of discussion, let’s say that a crew of employees go through the exact same safety training program. They learn how slowly and carefully they need to operate their machines and drive their vehicles.
Suppose the pressure to keep up with production or delivery schedules mounts and everyone feels it. Because of the pressure, one employee pushes beyond the limits even though they’ve been taught otherwise and gets hurt anyway.
What good is safety training if people don’t actually do what they’ve been taught? Some will think they know better than the experts and do things their way. However, my background in the field of employment testing and psychometric testing has also taught me to look further for specific attitudes and behavioral traits, like employee tension, respect for rules, and flexibility.
For example, if an employee has a sense of urgency (tension) that is stronger than their respect for rules, then bad things can happen when the pressure to perform increases. Or, if an employee places a high value on their own personal flexibility, then they might be more inclined to “bend” rules. In both examples, rules will get ignored and accidents will happen. That is why it is so important to find out in advance of hiring decisions, the degree to which employees are likely to use the knowledge they’ve been taught to perform their jobs safely.
The presence or absence of key, job related traits can make a huge difference in helping you know whether or not the people you hire and train have what it takes to do their job effectively and safely on a consistent basis. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and you can find out eventually that you made hiring mistakes, but trial and error is expensive.