Conducting a training needs assessment enables you to identify and bridge the gap between safety and health knowledge and your workers.1 This is the process for identifying job requirements and the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to safely perform the job tasks.2  

Training needs assessments are based on roles and responsibilities, job hazards, controls, work processes, personal protective equipment (PPE), and training requirements. By reviewing these areas, you can identify the knowledge needed to recognize hazards and prevent injuries.  

Key questions to ask when conducting a training needs assessment include: 

  1. What skills are needed to safely and successfully perform the task? 
  2. What hazards exist and what controls are currently needed to protect workers? 
  3. What job training is needed to prevent and control hazards? 
  4. What is the current training being provided? 
  5. What are the laws and requirements for safety training related to the task? 
  6. What is the employee skill level for those performing the tasks? 

Remember, some OSHA standards have specific training requirements. Training requirements can vary based on the hazards being addressed and the worker’s hazard exposure.  

Here’s an example from the Hazard Communication standard, “Employers shall provide employees with effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area…”.3 Additional examples of specific training requirements from 29 CFR 1910 General Industry include Subpart E – Exit Routes and Emergency Planning and Subpart I – Personal Protection Equipment. 

Some OSHA standards have different levels of training required. This is based on the exposure level of the worker to the hazard. Employees completing tasks may need comprehensive training. Other employees may only need to know the hazards exist. Likewise, not all standards include a specific training requirement.  

According to OSHA, the most-effective training programs are: 

--Accurate. Accurate training is created by qualified professionals, updated whenever is necessary, and delivered by appropriate means or personnel.   
--Credible. Training should be completed by a safety subject matter expert with practical experience.  
--Clear. Programs must be clear, understandable, and avoid jargon. They should be provided in the employee’s language and account for any limitations in employee understanding.  
--Practical. The information provided should be useful to employees in their jobs.4 

Effective worker training includes how to identify workplace safety and health problems, analyze the cause of these problems, evolve workplaces to be safer, and involve workers to accomplish safety goals.  

The following training techniques are recommended: 

--Use techniques that are proven to be effective with adult learners. 
--Employ peer training that includes activities. No more than one-third of the training should be lecture. 
--Teach in a language and vocabulary understood by the employee. 

--Need help in evaluating your training needs? TPC Training is here to serve you.  

With our Training Needs Evaluation program, we conduct a tour of your facility, interview stakeholders, review your training manuals, and assess your employee roles and responsibilities. Then, we prepare a proposal with customized training recommendations to meet your business needs. 

TPC can also provide Industrial Skills Assessment Tests that monitor your worker proficiencies in safety. This helps you know where and to whom you should focus your safety training. 

Contact TPC to get started with your Training Needs Evaluation and Industrial Skills Assessment Tests.  







About the author:

Taylor Sikes is a safety professional with over 15 years of experience. He has served as an OSHA-authorized trainer for construction and general industry, holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Georgia, and has authored numerous courses in workplace safety.


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