Fall protection training has always been a critical area of focus in the utility, construction, and electrician trades. A well-trained workforce that includes plenty of ongoing safety education is the key to running a productive business. However, there are challenges in these industries presently. New energy technologies are changing the industry as a whole, creating brand new job tasks that can increase risk. Simultaneously, in the next few years, it’s expected that half of the seasoned workforce will be lost to retirement and a new generation of inexperienced workers will transition in.
The fight for talent is predicted to increase dramatically as new jobs require new skills. The most recent BW Research “U.S. Energy and Employment Report” shows a nearly 20 percent increase in hiring in these fields. It’s imperative that companies ensure all their workers are completing fall protection training as part of a comprehensive safety education to remain competitive.
Why is Fall Protection Training Completion so Vital in the Utility Industry?
Falls are a leading cause of death in the construction and utility trades. According to OSHA, 381 of the 971 total deaths in construction were attributed to falls in 2017. The most cited violation has been failure to provide adequate fall protection or training. These accidents are costly to companies for a number of reasons, including medical treatment, lawsuits, the loss of production, and the requirement to bring in temporary workers to replace injured workers. While a human life is priceless, fall safety training is manageable and cost-effective.
In all organizations, it’s vital to develop a brand of safety and well-being of employees. This includes promoting ongoing fall protection training and hazard communications. Ann Osbourn with Safety company MSA said in Safety and Health Magazine, “It is always a challenge to ensure that all workers who may face potential fall hazards are not only initially trained on how to use a product, but continually trained, so that they are prepared and comfortable in what actions to take in the event of a fall.” A culture that places value on its employees will make the smart move to prioritize fall safety training.
Old Styles of Safety Training in the Utilities Market are Ineffective
There are many reasons why organizations need to shift to more modern fall protection training methods. Employees often fail to participate or complete safety training when it’s offered using older formats. Classroom training is time-consuming and takes them off the job. Also, workers often ignore fall protection hazards as “part of the job,” so they don’t see the need to be trained continuously.
It’s also been noted that classroom safety training can be boring to the new generation, because they prefer more interactive and on-demand training. Mandatory training is often viewed as negative by today’s workforce. This is especially true for workers who have experience on the job and have not had any accidents. They are not considering that equipment requirements can change, as can the design of fall safety harnesses and other safety components. As the utility industry changes rapidly, new learning material must be developed that is sustainable and current. Older training methods lack this ability.
Modern LMS Systems Provide Better Training Outcomes
In the expanding utilities market, modern learning management systems result in a more efficient and convenient means for providing training to a global workforce. Mobile learning has dramatically increased as a preferred method of delivery of fall protection training. This new technology also helps to simplify training across locations and mergers for brand consistency.
At the same time, powerful administrative tools enable management to track employee training progress, which becomes proof of compliance with mandatory fall protection training — a factor that mitigates risk and protects the company. Lastly, modern learning management systems can be integrated with HRIS and other employee management platforms to create a seamless employee experience.
Getting Employees Across the Company to Complete Fall Protection Training
Today’s utility workers are on-the-go, which makes fall protection training a challenge. However, new technology makes training accessible for all electricians and utility workers in the field. They can get their learning on-the-job and apply the knowledge immediately to their work. Online learning can also be incentivized for workers who want to earn OSHA certification (or recertify) to prove their skills and earn better paying jobs.
As a whole, remote and online training is a more interesting and impactful way to train employees on important safety topics like fall protection. Companies can create a wide range of learning materials that help utility workers connect the training topics to their real-life work experiences. This makes learning more effective and meaningful. Custom training courses for utility workers makes good business sense. Your organization’s ability to train workers on fall protection may be a matter of life or death.
Seek out a modern LMS to handle the challenges of fall safety training as the utility market heads into the next decade.
If you would like to learn more about how to engage and train your employees with efficiency that increases your compliance training completion rates, makes employees more productive, and increases stakeholder value, feel free to reach out and schedule a 1-on-1 strategy session today!