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Good Training Increases Safety, Efficiency, Consistency

by Jeff Hopkins, on 12/11/19 3:00 PM

But first make sure the classes pay a dividend on the time your employees invest

"There's no margin for error in a modern refinery or factory. Worker safety must be the number one priority, and proper training is a key element in ensuring everyone makes it home safely."

- From Proper Training Is The Best Insurance You Can Buy

When working in the field, proper training is a key element in ensuring everyone makes it home safely and that your business is protected. Smart companies know that competency is just as important as any insurance policy when it comes to lowering risk and ensuring efficient operations.

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But what does a first-class training program look like? We’ll break down the three elements every training program should include.

Instructor + Content + Expertise = Effectiveness

Training takes your employees away from their regular jobs, so you need to make sure that the time investment will yield returns to your operation. Look for a certified training program with a qualified instructor and the materials to teach your associates.

Be sure to ask how much time the instructor has spent in actual operations. Look for instructors who have spent time working in the field alongside engineers, mechanics, technicians, maintenance superintendents, and operators. That kind of experience can help an instructor quickly earn the respect of your employees and keep them engaged. 

Great instructors will be able to offer relatable stories and anecdotes. They will be able to engage learners in demonstrations and activities that can accelerate learning that is taken back and applied throughout your operations.

Here are a few other questions to ask:

  • 084-ASSOCIATE (Training2.jpg)Has the instructor received extensive facilitator training from an accredited organization or reputable supplier?
  • Does the instructor have the ability to teach employees at various skill levels and with various learning styles?
  • Does the instructor have the technical aptitude to work with engineers and other skilled workers?
  • What tools will be provided for ongoing learning and reference at the end of the course?
  • Can the organization customize a program at my location based on our particular needs?
  • Can the organization provide testimonials and references from past training participants?

Hands-on training boosts retention

We’ve all had teachers who stand in front of the classroom and drone on, citing references from textbooks and never taking any real time to engage with the class. There’s no faster way to lose an audience.

073-ASSOCIATE (0356WeldTraining640x640.jpg)The most effective training programs include a mix of classroom-style learning and practical application. Hands-on activities and group participation keep learners engaged and help them retain what they’ve learned long after the training course is done. 

Look for programs that dedicate at least 30 percent of course time to practical application. If the subject matter allows, you want the instructor to spend one-on-one time with each employee.


Learning shouldn't stop

Effective training doesn't stop at the end of the class. Your employees should walk away with materials, such as workbooks, tip sheets, and manuals they can refer to in the field. They should also have the opportunity to continue their learning outside of the training room on their own time. Shorter, online learning courses on very specific topics that will help them be safer and more efficient on the job. Instructors and training facilitators should also be available after the initial training to provide a touchpoint for employees seeking further information or support as questions arise.

It’s also important to note that technology, challenges, and opportunities evolve, so retraining is critical every few years. 

Trust the experts

From proper installation and maintenance of components to addressing common safety concerns, rely on your suppliers to offer courses that help you reduce or eliminate errors and injuries. The results for you will be smoother operations, lower downstream costs, and higher profitability.

Don’t settle for anything but the best. Make sure your training courses include all four components of a successful training program to maximize your time and investment.

Ultimately, proper training and education provide consistency to your operations. Quality content and expert instruction can help employees work safer and smarter around the clock, saving time and reducing costs.

Just ask

Swagelok Northern California has a great deal of exposure to all aspects of fluid system design and engineering. Whether you have a simple question or a complex challenge, we're glad to hear from you. 

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