Thanks to everyone who's responded to my question from yesterday about lab safety training program feedback. One interesting response I thought I would share pointed out that there is a NIOSH document available at
entitled "A systematic review of the effectiveness of training & education for the protection of workers"
There are some particularly interesting comments in the report, such as:
The distinction between training and education is not always clear, nor universally agreed upon. For some, only programs clearly involving a hands-on, practical component can be considered training. For others, the scope is broader, including programs without such a component. For the purposes of this review, the broader understanding of training has been adopted. Our definition of OHS training is "planned efforts to facilitate the learning of specific OHS competencies." Training methods can range from a one-time dissemination of information to intensive programs administered over a long period of time.
I think that this distinction is unusually important in the academic sector, which tends to be much more geared towards education than training.
The report has a good summary in its last section:
5.0 Messages for stakeholders
The following messages were developed after considering the evidence from this review:
- Workplace education and training programs have a positive impact on health and safety behaviours, so the review team recommends that workplaces continue to conduct education and training programs. Current evidence indicates positive associations between OHS training and the knowledge and attitudes of workers. However, OHS training as a lone intervention has not been demonstrated to have an impact on health (e.g. injuries, symptoms).
- The review team is unable to make recommendations about the nature of training (e.g. level of engagement, computer versus lecture, number of sessions).
- There is a critical need for high quality research on OHS training. Researchers, training providers, labour and management should continue to work together to advance the knowledge of effective practices in education and training.
Thanks to everyone for their interest in this topic.
Ralph Stuart CIH
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Department of Environmental Health and Safety
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