The next ten-hour OSHA class is about to begin. Employees enter and take their seats. For most of them, it has been many years since they attended school. Some of them never graduated high school. They are accustomed to physical labor; they are not looking forward to this class. Sure, it could be considered a break from work, but chances are they would rather bang their heads against a brick wall than sit through 10 whole hours of OSHA regulations!
The purpose of a ten-hour OSHA safety class is to give employees a basic overview on safety in a wide variety of subjects. If done right, they will leave prepared to think and be safer and the message will touch their hearts. For this reason, I would like to share with you some of my methods for keeping people engaged.
- My Storytelling: Everyone likes a great tale. I try to come up with a good story in every segment we cover. I know I have them sucked in if I have complete eye contact with everyone while I’m telling it. Typically, when I’m done, they are shocked to discover the lesson in the story is actually tied to the subject we are covering. If done right, I elicit from them their
- Students’ Storytelling: The importance and harsh reality for the need to be safe comes to life when students share their real-life stories and experiences. Many people often think they can cut corners because an accident will never happen to them. That attitude will melt away when co-workers show how real the danger is. Reality hits closer to home.
- Photos: I can explain mind-numbing details on regulations and watch everyone either daydream, nap, or pretend they are not texting or following social media. The other option is to show photos that we can evaluate as a group. Real-life photos help them comprehend how the information applies in a practical way. Additionally, it has the benefit of keeping everyone absorbed.
- Props: Everyone learns differently. Some learn visually, others are auditory, and yet others love to touch and play with things. Hard hats, fire extinguishers, even dirt samples that they can touch and feel are great for creating a fun and engaging class.
- Videos: I have two types of videos: serious educational videos and funny videos. Funny videos are always popular. I always pull them out when I see a lull. However, I make sure that any funny video I show has a practical lesson learned related to the subject we are considering.
- PowerPoint: Yes, I do use PowerPoint. Sometimes it is the best way to convey certain information. However, when you balance it with the methods previously mentioned and avoid reading the whole thing, it can actually be a useful, interesting and effective tool.
- Chocolate: There are moments when I start to ask questions. When chocolate is given as a reward, everyone is eager to answer my questions.
- Breaks: About every hour, I like to give a ten- or fifteen-minute break. During those breaks, I like to play funny videos. The videos are for entertainment purposes, but they still teach safety lessons and technically aren’t even part of the counted training time. Everyone loves them; they create a happy spirit in the room.
- Games: I sometimes like to play Jeopardy or other quiz games to review information that was covered and ensure they comprehend everything.
By the way, I am just as effective in English or Spanish. So, I shared with you some of my methods; do you have anything to add?