An Interview with Paul Feiner
As a Loss Prevention Certified (LPC) professional, Paul Feiner works full time as Store Support Manager at Sacramento Natural Foods in Sacramento, CA. On the side, he and his brother Michael manage a consulting business that helps small businesses develop proactive loss prevention programs to mitigate loss and maximize safety and security.
Recently I interviewed Paul about safety training for employees.
How do you recommend delivering safety training so it will “stick”?
PF: When I used to give hour-long safety presentations during new employee orientation, people literally fell asleep. Now we’ve broken the monotony by delivering the training in three parts: a 20-30 minute in-person presentation, a set of handouts, and an online self-paced training module. This way the training touches on different learning styles and no one gets overwhelmed. Of course, this is all in addition to the department-specific safety component of on-the-job training.
What do you cover in the in-person presentation during orientation?
We emphasize how we really need the participation of the staff to create a safe workplace. We introduce the Store Emergency Response Binder. We show how to fill out an incident report form. We explain the storewide emergency action plan and code system (Code Blue for medical emergency, Code Red for fire, Code Yellow for lost child, etc.). In addition, we address coming to and leaving work in the dark, storing personal belongings, security cameras, computer security, shoplifting and workplace violence. We also introduce the handouts and online module.
What’s in the handouts?
Five topics required by OSHA:
- personal protective equipment, (e.g. gloves, masks, goggles)
- lockout/tag-out (operating and maintaining equipment safely)
- hazard communication (chemicals in the workplace)
- blood-borne pathogens
- workplace violence
These handouts are more detailed than our presentation. Employees can take them home and refer to them later, but also, the handouts demonstrate that the employer did deliver the OSHA-mandated training.
Now tell me about your self-paced online training.
We tailor it to the individual store, making it interactive with clickable boxes, pop-up photos, a funny video, and a quiz. Topics in the module include: slips, trips and falls, proper lifting, ergonomics, ladder safety, equipment safety, fire extinguishers, and safe evacuation. The short quiz at the end is easy, but reinforces major points of the training. Employees must get at least 80% right, and have two chances to do so. They then print out their results page and take it the trainer, who sends it to HR to document the training.
What topics would be addressed in department-specific safety training?
First, every department should have its own training guide to ensure everyone learns department best practices–and safety should be part of that. There should be a checklist that the trainer goes over with the trainee; you want to avoid any incident where an employee might claim, “I wasn’t trained. I didn’t know.” When there’s a storewide emergency action plan, each department has different tasks. For instance, during a power failure, grocery staff closes the freezers, front-end escorts customers out the door, etc. Trainings should cover those roles, alongside issues like knife safety in the kitchen or bailer training in receiving.
Any final words about workplace safety?
OSHA may require safety training, but managers often have excuses for why it doesn’t happen, (“We’re too busy,” “We’re short-staffed.”) The truth is, it takes far more time to deal with the results of a workplace injury than it would to provide the required training and proper oversight in the first place. Training right the first time saves time and money—and keeps people from getting hurt.
To learn about OSHA requirements:
To learn about Paul’s consulting services:
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