The Four Pillars of Workplace Safety

Occupational safety is a big job. For new safety leaders, getting oriented quickly and positioning to be effective may be challenging.

Article content provided by ClickSafety.

In a recent blog post, ClickSafety writes that for new safety leaders, getting oriented quickly and positioning to be effective may be challenging. They offer the following ‘Four Pillars’ approach to safety.

Comprehensive Worker Safety & Skills Training
Training Documentation
The first reason to get safety training documentation and reporting together is that it is required by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) across many standards. Many OSHA training requirements begin with “employer shall provide training”; it is implied here that employers must then be able to provide proof that training has been provided.

Safety Training Management
Many safety leaders are turning to online learning management systems (LMS) to solve for compliance course delivery. As organizations grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to sustain a centrally-managed safety training schedule that achieves training goals. A LMS automates compliance training delivery and provides your workers with a password-protected online portal for access to a personal training program—workers just have to login and complete training.

Training for Common OSHA Violations
To provide your workforce with a basic safety education, you’ll want to make sure to focus on the most common hazards associated with your industry. OSHA’s list of the top ten most frequently cited safety standards contains a mix of Construction and General Industry standards that provide employers with a basic roadmap for training programs. Topics like Hazard Communication and Fall Protection are two examples of frequent citations that safety leaders can prevent through comprehensive safety training.

Follow New OSHA Standards & Regulations
To stay in-step with the evolving landscape of occupational safety & health requirements, take advantage of the free OSHA resources that bring information to you. Sign up for QuickTakes. OSHA's online newsletter provides the latest news about enforcement actions, rulemaking, outreach activities, compliance assistance, and training and educational resources. Follow OSHA on Twitter @OSHA_DOL. See a list of new OSHA publications and compliance assistance resources.

Deliver Quality Safety Courses
Accredited Safety Training Created with Subject Matter Experts
The training you provide your workforce needs to demonstrate understanding of the real working hazards, conditions, and scenarios that workers will encounter on the job. In short, it needs to reflect their experiences. This is important not just for credibility or compliance, but also for engagement and understanding. Look for courses accredited for continuing education, which have been reviewed for quality standards by independent governing bodies.

Blended Safety Training Models
Certain OSHA safety standards require hands-on, live instruction while others are best online, for consistency. It is important to recognize this not only for compliance purposes, but for training comprehension, engagement, and safety culture. First, workers have different learning styles; what works for one team or group, may not work well for another. Second, in terms of effectiveness, there is no substitute for small-group live training. Many experienced safety pros use online training for compliance courses and refresher training to ensure that they have more time to facilitate live training sessions, for a “blended training” approach.

Training in Native Languages 
According to OSHA, employers must provide training that workers can understand. This letter of interpretation from OSHA explains it well. No matter how many different languages are spoken within your workforce, by any number of employees, businesses have an obligation to provide safety and health training that successfully educates workers on the hazards they are exposed to in working environments.

Maximizing Training Engagement
There’s no OSHA standard for ensuring your safety training program is engaging or interesting, but remember that employers do have a responsibility to demonstrate that workers understand your training and can show competency on the subject matter. Consider this statistic: after six days, people forget 75 percent of the information in their training. This is why is it critical for new safety leaders to deliver safety training in ways that promote engagement and interactivity. Online training is a great way to improve memorability; it has been shown to increase training retention rates between 25 – 60%.

Measure Your Team’s Knowledge
Testing for Safety Training Knowledge
OSHA’s compliance officers evaluate whether or not the safety training you provide to workers is understood. As a new safety leader, how do you successfully demonstrate that employees understand the required training provided and knowledge acquired? Testing for proficiency is the answer, and documenting the results. Online safety training systems make this simple by administering tests at the end of safety courses and documenting the results for each employee in a simple, reportable fashion. This is far easier to orchestrate than maintaining paper files.

Auditing Specialty Training Requirements
OSHA’s training requirements are driven by hazard exposure. Because of that, not all workers or teams require the same level of safety training. Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) is one example of an OSHA training requirement that is more focused than a general safety topic, but may only apply to a fraction of your workforce. Yet for workers or teams that fall under this standard, it is important that new safety leaders understand when training was first completed, when refresher training is due, and arrange all of the supporting documentation.

Offering Training Assistance
With respect to online safety training, this is what OSHA has to say about offering assistance to employees actively working through safety courses and programs…

“…In an effective training program, it is critical that trainees have the opportunity to ask questions where material is unfamiliar to them.”

Whether helping workers access the safety training technology you use, or helping them work through safety courses, it is a good idea to have a plan for providing this support to your workforce. This effort also helps to maximize your training investment and drive successful outcomes.

Building Training Communication Pathways
Simple, recurring, and automated training feedback loops help new safety leaders realize success faster as they surface impactful changes. Not all suggestions or feedback on safety training content is going to be insightful or even helpful, but it is important to respond to feedback and adopt suggestions that create a better safety experience. Examples of training feedback mechanisms include: simple online surveys, end of course comment sections, end of course star ratings (for online safety courses), open discussion during safety meetings, etc.

Prepare for Scale
Standardizing the Training Experience
New safety leaders need to build safety training programs that scale. That means finding ways to deliver training that are efficient and can grow with your company. ‘Scale’ also means the ability to reach and train geographically dispersed workers, workers at different job sites or locations, and workers in different countries. The best way to accomplish this is to develop and deliver standardized safety training experiences. The benefits of safety training standardization are realized through consistency in training for hazard exposures, consistency in safety messaging, and ease of safety training program administration.

Supporting Workforce Development
For new safety leaders, one of the biggest opportunities to improve safety performance is to begin developing more safety leaders within your organization. There are 10 safety professional certifications available to members of your workforce that would like to explore occupational safety and health as a career pathway, as trainers, managers, and subject matter experts. Cultivating these skills in your workforce increases the level of safety knowledge and creates additional pillars for your safety culture.


How to get Online Safety Training from ClickSafety?

  1. Chapter Benefits
    Contact your chapter to check if they have an agreement with ClickSafety for free or discounted courses. Individual Member (or company) Purchases at 20% Discount.
  2. Individual Member (or company) Purchases at 20% Discount.
    For members whose chapter does not have a current agreement with ClickSafety, you can get the safety training you need to be in compliance on the jobsite. Visit to find the course, then use discount code SMACNA20 to receive 20% off your course.

To learn more about opportunities for your company or chapter, or to set up training, please contact Katie Adams at (913) 239-2692 or

Help reduce incidents, avoid the high costs of non-compliance, and transform the safety culture of chapter with ClickSafety.

Visit the ClickSafety website to learn more

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ClickSafety conveniently trains workers anytime, anyplace with a vast library of interactive, mobile friendly online courses covering the latest federal mandates and state regulatory requirements such as California and New York. This has made ClickSafety a leader in online safety and compliance training for more than twenty years.