Here it comes again -- the dreaded annual safety training. Before you start seeing workers duck out with a sudden "flu" the minute you mention the upcoming training, let them know that you're committed to making it more bearable by adding in some humor and fun. Not only will it make the training easier, but it may help workers retain more information.
Feed the masses. Any meeting or dreaded company event gets a little bit better with free food -- especially if it's something you know is popular among the staff. Send out an email survey a few days before the training and throw out a few possibilities, and then pick the type of food requested by the highest number of people.
Create some type of competition. Every event gets a bit more exciting when you pit one side against the other. Split the staff into groups and offer a prize for the team that gets the highest number of questions right on the exam at the end of the training. You may be surprised at how some small incentives and a bit of co-worker pressure can get people to pay attention.
Move the training to a different location than your other meetings. Some offices have chosen to do their training on a golf course or at a park, introducing a new safety topic as workers make their way through the course. This keeps workers literally "on their toes" instead of falling asleep in the conference room.
Start off the training on a light note. Show a video or cartoon, or make up a ridiculous safety scenario and ask workers to share how to fix it. Cut the boredom throughout the meeting by interspersing funny cartoons or videos throughout the training period.
Do role-playing, and ask workers to play the "dummy." Chances are most of your workers know the do's of safety around your workplace, but they also know the don'ts. Doing role-playing in which workers have to act out the "don'ts" can help you cover difficult or unpleasant safety issues and discuss the consequences of making the wrong choice -- all while allowing workers to laugh at their co-workers' performance. Another option is to come up with scripted skit and ask workers to act out the various parts.
- If you have the budget for it, hire a trainer who specializes in dynamic, humorous safety trainings.
- Check with your state's Department of Labor or a safety compliance board related to your industry to find available safety trainings in your area.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.