Achieving a culture of compliance with EHS training: Top 6 Tips

New legislation brings new compliance demands and further strain on companies to adjust their operations to meet ever-changing standards. EHS training programs can help.

In today’s varying working environments, developing and implementing an effective environmental, health, and safety (EHS) compliance program can be tricky. You need to foster an accessible culture where all employees can thrive, meet changing regulatory requirements, and accommodate a diverse set of needs.  

EHS training is a vital tool for ensuring employees are maintaining compliance while performing their daily duties. Developing a training program also helps companies foster a strong EHS culture to make compliance the priority.  

In this article, we outline our top tips for using EHS training programs to build a culture of compliance.

EHS safety training – the top pillars

Employee training is crucial to help avoid workplace injuries, minimize environmental vulnerabilities, and support employee wellbeing. Training is important for exhibiting the values, policies and processes in your company – and demonstrating how employees can play their part. How you develop your program will directly impact your company’s health and safety status. To maintain compliance with changing legislation and improve your company’s EHS compliance status, you should work to integrate these main pillars:  

  • building a positive health and safety culture,  
  • ensuring your EHS training meets regulatory requirements,  
  • covering general and site-specific expectations, and  
  • developing a program that accommodates diverse needs.  

How do you do that? For the six tips from the free Enhesa whitepaper EHS safety training: how to enhance your culture and increase compliance, read on:

Tip #1 – Lead from the top

The first step to promoting a positive culture comes from the very top of the company. As humans, we all appreciate leadership by example, and the working environment is no different. Leaders should prioritize behaviors that align well with the established EHS program. Management needto be mindful every day of demonstrating the holistic values of the company and displaying them across all interactions with their teams.

Tip #2 – Promote positive experiences

The second step to developing a positive culture is to ensure the initial experience with health and safety training is, in itself, positive. When creating your program, it’s important to consider the diverse needs of your team. Accommodating your employees’ preferences for the type, content, and style of training will demonstrate a respect for individual needs and encourage workers to engage more with the training. Not only does this showcase a respect and compassion for the differences in your workers’ abilities, and a commitment to meeting them where they are, it will also establish a foundation of compliance that all employees are capable of achieving in their own unique ways.

Tip #3 – Address diversity

To understand how to create an EHS program that accommodates varying needs, companies should first take time to explore their workers’ preferences: 

  • Do they prefer virtual or in-person training sessions? 
  • All-day sessions or shorter sessions? 
  • Which topics do they want to focus on? 
  • Do they prefer long or short-form content? 
  • Does anyone have any specific learning needs that should be considered? 

Once you’re well-acquainted with the varying needs of your workforce, you can develop appropriate EHS training programs delivered accessibly, so all employees benefit. Companies need to be open to adapt.

Tip #4 – Explore adaptive learning and micro learning

Adaptive learning is usually online. It uses algorithms to tailor both content and speed to fit the learner. It’s an effective training method, as it intuitively accommodates different learning styles and speeds, increasing both engagement and retention of information. Adaptive learning courses can use surveys or questions that test workers’ knowledge and adjust the remaining training accordingly, to target any weaker spots. Adaptive learning can also make courses more accessible to those with dyslexia or other learning difficulties.  

Micro learning is an alternative way of addressing multiple learning styles simultaneously. Providing training in small, consumable doses, this type of learning allows businesses to create their own training courses tailored to workers’ needs. It’s also highly individual to the company, making it a good method for creating a strong health and safety culture. Combining both discussion and online resources, training providers can use platforms like ticketing systems and messaging applications to encourage employees to ask questions on a particular safety issue.

Tip #5 – Consider a training matrix

Meeting regulatory requirements can be difficult, particularly if a company operates in several countries and states or across jurisdictions. This increases the complexity of creating training programs that meet each of the varying requirements. Different roles within a business may also require different lengths of training courses, and these will also vary by country or state. The first step is for companies to be aware of all relevant regulations that impact their business. Once you know those, a training matrix can be a helpful method of managing training requirements.  

A training matrix is a visual tool for planning, tracking and evaluating employee skills. For each individual on the matrix, there’s a corresponding mark under the relevant skill, ability or training to indicate their success level. This therefore makes it easier to track the legally required training and optional additional training so EHS managers can gain better insight into their employees’ compliance knowledge. New requirements can be added to the training matrix to keep all workers updated on recent legislation, ensuring training requirements are kept up-to-date as compliance requirements change.

Tip #6 – Get ahead of both general and site-specific needs

Finally, EHS training programs should aim to offer both general training and site-specific training to cover all bases. It’s vital to monitor the regulatory expectations in the jurisdictions in which you operate to ensure your training program is compliant across all areas you work. Companies must stay aware of forecasted changes and proposed legislation that could affect their training. Health and safety training may need to be provided at three levels: 

  • Company-level: covering evolving health and safety legislation, general safety technology, the company’s personal systems, company rules, and accident cases 
  • Workshop-level: covering the workshop’s health and safety status, rules and systems, hazard measures, occupational illness and injury preventative measures, accident cases, and emergency response measures 
  • Production unit-level: covering safety rules and procedures, accident cases, properties of personal protective equipment, and user instruction 

Companies must adapt their training program to cover different areas – and they must keep these programs flexible to stay up-to-date as new legislation and regulatory changes emerge.

Achieving a culture of compliance with EHS training

Creating a health and safety culture goes beyond meeting basic compliance needs for your business. Fostering such a culture is centered around employee attitudes in the workplace, their respective behaviors in response, whether their needs are being met, and key aspects of their mental health and their occupational health. Your EHS training program is one of the most important tools to building a culture that’s both compliant and positive. Within your program, ensure you’re teaching about how health and safety is measured, and therefore valued, at your company. 

Kickstart your training

EHS training is all about making sure your employees remain safe and well at work, and equipping them with the best tools to do so. The right training programs will ensure you effectively communicate compliance needs while maintaining a positive health and safety culture. And if you need a source to communicate your global EHS requirements to employees and empower them to track your compliance status, learn more about compliance intelligence: Compliance Intelligence. 

For more information on building EHS training programs for compliance, read our free whitepaper.