When you think of training, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Is it the hard earned sweat in a gym?  Or perhaps enduring the tedium of formal courses designed to build skills and make you a better version of yourself?

It’s a personal thing.  Everyone will have a different reaction to the word ‘training’ if it used with no accompanying pre-descriptor like ‘weight’ or ‘soccer’ or even ‘workplace’.  Their immediate reaction will be based on their own experiences – duh!  Retention of the knowledge by each attendee is a barometer of the success of each course and varies enormously depending on several variables that include the trainer, the subject, the venue and, perhaps most importantly, whose choice was it for the attendee to be there.

The success of training will really come down to what you are trying to achieve.

Or perhaps for many of us what your boss claims that you should be achieving.  It is usually the company that arranges and insists on workplace training across a range of skills and areas because they need their people compliant with the latest standards and expectations. The business needs to avoid potential trouble in the form of workplace accidents or regulator action that could be avoided simply through a training program.  And, to be honest, in most cases the management decision to hold workplace training is justified.

So why are many workplace training sessions so difficult to build enthusiasm in the eyes of the trainee?

Training as a concept needs clarification and refinement to build meaning.  If, before the word’ training’ you insert ‘WHS’, then the concept becomes far more tangible and congenial.  Work health Safety is a topic that involves every single person on every single site.  We all want to return to our families and loved ones safely at the end of a hard day at work, right?  So why do many attendees struggle with the need to do the training?

Training also helps us to achieve our goals, heighten our skills and reward our expectations at a personal level.  As they say, knowledge is power.  In the safety game (like… every site in Australia) then surely safety (WHS) training should be anticipated and approached with raw enthusiasm.  And the WHS training can be broken up into a whole range of sub topics like manual handling, plant operations, traffic management, environmental safety and more.

Ah, yes – I said environmental safety.  The safety and protection of our environment. What I would like to do is to talk about one small part of environmental training – spill awareness and response.

If you work in an industrial environment where liquids are used or stored then this is an area with which you may be familiar.  You may have done training in your workplace at some stage on spill response, but how often?  Is your employer (or as they may now be called PCBU) conducting regular training and refresher training for spill awareness?  Do you and your staff understand exactly what is in a spill kit and how to use the contents correctly in the event of a spill?

Certainly, there are training providers who will visit your site and provide this training, but, are those providers not offering the training as an ambiguous sales tool – to get your company to buy more product that may (or may not) be best suited for the specific risks at your site?  I’m talking round pegs in square holes here.  Training that doesn’t quite match your site or risks.

Spill response courses need to address more than just what is in the spill kit.  If you are looking into spill training (and you should be) then look for a trainer with experience and a planned course in risk identification, risk mitigation, different types of spill control resources and (of course) how to use the products in a spill kit.  Your trainer needs to understand your site risks and then provide training that identifies and mitigates these risks.

Alternate your training programs between formal styles of training, practical demonstrations and refresher courses.  Ask if the trainer can customize the training for your site and specific risks. Ask for a training needs analysis and a plan to ensure all first responders on your site receive the training at some point.

Find a credible training provider with the knowledge and experience to offer not only their own products in a glorified sales call, but to train objectively so that any attendee has understanding of the risks and responsibilities across multiple sites and businesses.

If you are serious about site safety and environmental compliance, talk to Akuna Services about prevention of and treatment of spills in your workplace.  Ph: 1300 912 949 to enquire about risk assessments and staff training at your workplace.