Safety Training

“Safety training and education is an important organisational strategy for any total accident prevention programme.” - R. R. NAIR



Education and training have been recognised as important components of organised health and safety programs in work places. In today’s rapidly changing workplace they are more important than ever.

Safety training and education creates consciousness and develops alertness to safety. Safety education develops safety – mindedness while training helps apply acquired safety knowledge to the specific job or task or procedure. It is a process by which employees are helped to develop critical and conscious mind to analyse safe work methods or procedure and develop skills in application of safe methods and practices in their work and activities.

Safety is being implemented by the man on the shop, his conscious efforts to be safe in every situation and at all the times is important. It must be borne in mind that the workers who have not been trained how to perform their jobs safely are more likely to have accidents. It is also a fact that a well-trained employee is more likely to be a safe employee. Therefore, safety consciousness has to be inculcated so that employees’ actions and behaviour are all the time governed by such safety considerations.

This article will focus on various aspects of safety training and various statutes applicable to safety training at national and international level, in particular to Indian contest. For the preparation of this article, many documents such as books, articles, acts, rules, codes, and standards are referred, however, due to limitation of space, the list of these references are not included in this article.


It would be appropriate to go into various aspects of training, such as sources of safety information, designing the training needs, training methods, training plans, so that the readers can get a comprehensive view on safety training.

The objectives of sources of safety information corresponds to four different stages of accident sequence.

At the first stage, sources of information provided prior to the task are used to educate workers about risks and persuade them to behave safely. The sources used for this task include safety training materials, hazard communication programmes and various forms of safety programme materials. Methods of education and persuasion attempt not only to reduce errors by improving worker knowledge and skills but also to reduce intentional violation of safety rules by changing unsafe attitudes. As the inexperienced workers are often the target audience at this stage, safety information provided at the stage must be more detailed in content than at other stages.

At the second stage, sources such as written procedures, checklists, instructions, warning signs, and product labels can provide critical safety information during routine task performance. This information usually consists of brief statements, which either instructs less skilled workers or remind skilled workers to take necessary precautions. Statements providing such information are often embedded at the appropriate stage within step-by-step instructions describing how to perform a task. Warning signs at appropriate locations can play a similar role. It must be emphasized that a well-trained and motivated workforce is a prerequisite for safety communication to be effective at this stage.

At the third stage, highly conspicuous and easily perceived sources of safety information alert workers of abnormal or unusually hazardous conditions. The sources of information include warning signals, safety markings, tags, signs, lockouts, etc. As in stage two, a well-trained and motivated workforce is a prerequisite for safety communication to be affective at this stage also.

At the fourth stage, the focus is on expediting worker performance of emergency procedures at the time of an accident, and on the performance of remedial measures shortly after an accident. Safety information signs and markings such as the locations of exists, fire extinguishers, first aid station, emergency showers, eyewash fountains, etc., conspicuously indicate facts critical to adequate performance of emergency procedures. Product safety labels and MSDSs may specify remedial and emergency procedures to be followed. As in stage two and three, a well-trained and motivated workforce is a prerequisite for safety communication to be affective at this stage too.


While designing on the contents of training, the employees’ position and the type of work done by him in the organisations need to be considered. The contents must be useful to the trainees’ existing work interest and should help him to improve his job performance. In determining the contents, it is profitable to consult, plant or departmental heads and individuals to be trained so as to assess the work interest and areas of work application. This will help in bringing their environment.

It is particularly important to ensure that the key personals that have special safety and health responsibilities within the organisation are properly trained.

Supervisors have a vital role to play in ensuring safety and health. However, often they receive little or no specific training. Therefore, there is a need to train the supervisors in hazard identification and control so that the action can be taken by them to remove hazards from their area of control. It should be borne in mind that safety training should be an integral part of job training and job specification.

New starters to any job are vulnerable and likely to cause / meet accidents and therefore all new starters need to be trained in safety and health relevant to their work before being posted in a position where they are at risk or can become a hazard to others.

Supervisor can ensure that his people are working conscientiously with safe habits, only if he checks from time to time whether the workers know, understand and willingly follow safety rules and regulations. Supervisors shall instil positive attitude to safety, right from the stage of induction training to on-the-job training. General things like use of working space, location of first aid, housekeeping, disposal system, etc., could be stressed in the initial training. While giving details of job instructions, safety points such as use of protective equipment and guards, handling and care of tools, machines, and material and safe methods of working should be emphasized.

To determine the content, it is necessary to have understanding of learning process in view of the trainers’ competence and trainees’ capacity to learn.

Comprehensive information on company’s safety policy, activities and review of company’s safety performance in terms of year to year trends, loss of man hours and damage to goods and equipment, etc., can help stressing the role to be played by supervisors and managers for implementation and observance of safety on the shop floor.


The training specialists often face within bewildering choice of training methods to meet a defined training objective. It may be borne in mind that what learners retain from instruction they receive vary from person to person. Many educators are of the opinion that the following percentage apply regarding what learners retain from instruction they receive.

  • 10 % of what is read
  • 20 % of what is heard
  • 30 % of what is seen
  • 50 % of what is seen and heard
  • 70 % of what is seen and spoken
  • 90 % of what is said while doing what is talked about

Different training method and techniques are in vogue. The methods, such as lecture, discussion, and role-play technique are useful in a formal classroom for a group of supervisory or management group. The techniques like, on the job instructions, fault analysis are useful for training a small group of technicians or operatives on the shop floor. Project work and simulation workshop help learning through application and practice at any level.
The training method chosen must also maintain interest of the learners. The afternoon sessions must be necessarily conducted by group environment methods so as to keep their interest high, in-spite of the odd hours. By and large the methods chosen should help the learners learn the contents through active involvement. All the methods and aids have to be used singly or in combination depending on the type of training, type of trainees, availability of time and facility available for training. The right choice of method or combination of them depends upon the training objective, the learning quality and the speed desired.


Before formulating a training plan, it is necessary to clarify some broad aspects of training, such as whether the programme is to meet short term or immediate needs or a long range with future needs in mind. It could also be a general educational programme or the specialised skill development programme. The nature of programme could be induction, orientation for new entrants or refresher, appreciation programme for older employees, etc.
At this stage, it is necessary to find out whether the training content so decided can be taught in a formal training programme or can be put across informally in daily contacts. An informal guidance and coaching can be done individually over a period of time whereas if the group size becomes large, then the formal inputs may be necessary. The induction, orientation, on-the-job programmes have to be organised in the company and can be conducted exclusively by in-company officials.

The duration of the training should however be decided in view of expected results in terms of changes in performance and behaviour and the attempt should be to give adequate coverage so as to reach the expected standard. However, a part-time programme of not more than 2 hours at a time would help keep sustained interest. Programmes organised outside or in institutes have to be full time duration for administrative convenience.
A programme conducted at the premises of the factory has convenience of attending to work and being available when required. However, it suffers from distraction of being called to attend the jobs. Programme away from place of work have an advantage of continuity of learning, minimum interruption, motivation of trainees and adequacy of learning through exchange of views without inhibitions, etc.

The trainers chosen from within the company should be knowledgeable in their subjects and must be interested and skill in teaching. They must be well respected for their position in the organisation and having authority in the subject besides having proven ability to guide and coach people on safety.

The line between training that should be provided by supervisor and health and safety professionals is not clear-cut. Generally speaking, supervisors are more likely to provide job – and task – specific training while safety and health professionals are more likely to provide the more generic training. Regardless of where this line is drawn, it is clear that today’s safety and health professionals must be competent at developing, coordinating and conducting training.

The persons conducting training should have a thorough knowledge of the topics to be taught; a desire to teach; a professional attitude and approach; and exemplary behaviour that sets a positive example. In addition to having these characteristics, the modem trainer should be knowledgeable about the fundamental principles of learning.


Having recognised the importance of safety training in workplaces, it would be appropriate to go into various statutory requirements available at National and International Levels.

Analyses of the causes of accidents, which occurred in India, revealed that the chemical industry accounted for nearly 30 per cent of the fatal accidents and almost the same percentage of nonfatal accidents, which were due to human lapses. These could have been averted if the workers were made aware of the hazards and the preventive control measures and also showed commitment and involvement, which could be achieved through well-planned training programmes. The importance of periodical training, whether formal or informal, has been highlighted by various accidents occurred in India. It must be borne in mind that without the involvement and co-operation of the general public, environmental protection activity in general, and handling of the impact of accidents cannot be very effective. To enlist the involvement and co-operation of the public, an essential requirement is to make them aware of the hazard potentialities. Keeping this requirement in view, the following statutes have provision on training of workers, and some of these have also the stipulation about information to be passed on to the general public:

  • The Factories Act 1948.
  • The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Regulation 1990.
  • The Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals (MSIHC) Rules 1989.
  • The Central Motor Vehicles (CMV) Rules 1989 as amended in 1993.
  • The Mines Act 1952
  • The BIS Standards.

6.1.1 Factories Act:
One of the general duties of every ‘occupier’, prescribed under Section 7A (2) (c), of the Factories Act, 1948, is to provide ‘such information, instruction, and training and supervision as are necessary to ensure the health and safety of all workers at work’.
Under Section 41-B of the Factories Act, the occupier of every factory, involving a hazardous process, is to disclose to the workers and the general public, in the prescribed manner, all information regarding the health hazards and the measures to overcome such hazards.
The State Factories Rules framed under the Factories Act have prescribed that the information to be disclosed, shall cover:

  1. Requirements of Section 41-B, 41-C and 41-H of the Factories Act.
  2. A list of ‘hazardous processes’ carried on in the factory.
  3. Location and availability of all Material Safety Data Sheets.
  4. Physical and health hazards arising out of the exposure to or handling of substances.
  5. Measures taken by the occupier to ensure safety and control of physical and health hazards.
  6. Measures to be taken by the workers to ensure safe handling, storage and transportation of hazardous substances.
  7. Personal Protective Equipment required to be used by workers employed in ‘hazardous process’ or dangerous operation.
  8. Meaning of various labels and markings used on the containers of hazardous substances.
    Signs and Symptoms likely to be manifested on exposure to hazardous substances and to whom to report.
  9. Measures to be taken by the workers in case of any spillage or leakage of hazardous substances.
  10. Role of workers vis-à-vis the emergency plan of the factory, in particular the evacuation procedures.
  11. Any other information considered necessary by the occupier to ensure safety and health of workers.

The above information shall be compiled and made available to workers individually in the form of booklets or leaflets and display of cautionary notices at the workplace. These will be in the language understood by the majority of the workers. The contents should also be explained to the workers.

Rules under Section 41-B of the Factories Act, also prescribe that every factory carrying on a ‘hazardous process’ shall obtain or develop information on each hazardous substance handled, maintain it as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and make these available for reference to the workers, on request.

Section 41-B(1) of the Factories Act prescribes that the occupier of every hazardous process unit shall disclose in the prescribed manner, all information regarding the health hazards in the manufacture, transportation and storage of the hazardous substances, and the measure to combat such hazards, to the general public in the vicinity.

The State Factories Rules prescribe that the occupier of a hazardous process unit shall, in consultation with the designated District Emergency Authority, take appropriate steps to furnish the information to the general public in the area.

Whereas, this is a general requirement applicable to all hazardous process unit, the State Factories Rules have prescribed in the Schedules on dangerous operations, the display of cautionary placards in the following processes specifically:

  1. Electrolytic plating (Chromium hazard).
  2. Sand blasting.
  3. Liming and tanning of raw hides, etc.
  4. Manufacture of Chromic Acid.
  5. Manufacture of Nitro or Amino processes.
  6. Handling and manipulation of corrosive substances.
  7. Processes involving the manufacture, use or evolution of Carbon Disulphide and Hydrogen Sulphide.
  8. Manufacture & manipulation of dangerous Pesticides.
  9. Manufacture & manipulation of Asbestos.
  10. Manufacture & manipulation of Manganese
  11. Benzene processes.
  12. Processes involving carcinogenic dye intermediates
  13. Highly flammable liquids and flammable gases.

6.1.2 Dock Workers Regulations:

Training of Dock Workers in the health and safety aspects of cargo handling is as important as the training of workers in the factories. The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Regulations, 1990, cover this aspect also.

Regulation No.111 stipulates that ‘initial and periodical training’ shall be imparted to all categories of dock workers, responsible and authorised persons depending upon their nature of work and skill required and performing their duties. Training including refresher courses is to be imparted to all first aid personnel, by a qualified medical officer.

6.1.3 MSIHC Rules:
The training provisions in the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals (MSIHC) Rules, 1989, framed under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, are meant to equip the workers in the hazardous chemicals units to protect themselves and to avert major accidents in such units, and handle an accident situation appropriately.
Rule 4(2) (b) (ii) of MSIHC Rules, stipulates that the Occupier should ‘provide to the persons working on the site with the information, training and equipment including antidotes necessary to ensure their safety’.

Rule 13(4) of MSIHC Rules, prescribes that the Occupier shall ensure that a mock drill of the on-site emergency plan is conducted every six months. This serves as a practical training to the workers on how to handle an accident situation.

Rule 15(1) of MSIHC Rules, stipulates that the Occupier of a hazardous chemical installation shall take all steps to inform the people outside the site either directly or through the District Emergency Authority:(a) the nature of the major accident hazard; and (b) the safety measures and the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to be adopted in the event of a major accident.
Rule 17(1,2,3) of MSIHC Rules, prescribes that the Occupier of a hazardous chemical installation shall maintain Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on the hazardous chemicals handled and make them accessible to the workers. This stipulation is similar to the one in the Factories Act in respect of hazardous process units.

6.1.4 CMV Rules:
The Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, insists that safety and accident prevention in respect of vehicles transporting hazardous goods are ensured through appropriate information being provided to the drivers who should also be properly trained.

Rule 9(1) of CMV Rules, prescribes that any person driving a goods carriage carrying goods of dangerous or hazardous nature to human life shall: (i) in addition to being the holder of a driving licence to drive a transport vehicle, also has the ability to read and write at least one Indian language out of those specified in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution of India, and English, and (ii) possess a certificate having successfully passed a course consisting of the prescribed syllabus and periodicity (duration – 3 days)

Rule 134 of CMV Rules, stipulates that every goods carriage used for transporting any dangerous or hazardous goods shall be legibly and conspicuously marked with an emergency information panel on three sides of the goods carriage.

Rule 135 of CMV Rules, stipulates that ‘the owner’ of every goods carriage transporting dangerous or hazardous goods shall ensure that the driver of the goods carriage has received adequate instructions & training to enable him to understand:

  • the nature of the goods being transported by him,
  • the nature of the risks arising out of such goods,
  • the precautions he should take while the goods carriage is in motion or stationary, and
  • the action he has to take in case of any emergency.

6.1.5 Mines Act:
The law relating to the regulation of labour and safety in mines in India are governed by Mines Act, 1952.

Rule 58 (ff) of the Mines Act, 1952, insists for training in first-aid; Rule 58 (fff), insists for imparting of practical instruction to, or the training of, persons employed or to be employed in mines; Rule 58 (v) of the Act, provides guidance for the formation, training composition and duties of rescue brigades which are generally for the conduct of rescue work in mines.

6.1.6 BIS Standards:
IS:15001 – 2000 brought out by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), provides guidance to the organizations to develop a practical approach to management of occupational health and safety in such a way to protect employees and general public, whose health and safety may be in danger. The Standard also directs to improve occupational health & safety performance of the organizations by providing the necessary requirements and guidance. However, this standard has been re-designated as IS: 18001-2007.

The BIS has also published National Building Code of India (NBC) 2016, which serves as a guide for all construction activities in India. Part 7 Clause (d) of the NBC 2016 insists for the education and training of workers involved in constructions sites on safety issues. BIS has also published several standards on various aspects of occupational safety, health and environment, which may also serve as a source of information for providing an effective training.

In most industrialised countries, government regulations require that certain form of safety information be provided to workers. For example:

In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has promulgated a Hazard Communication Standard that applies to workplaces where toxic or hazardous materials are in use, which requires training, container labelling, the distribution of MSDSs and other form of warnings. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed several labelling requirements for toxic chemicals. The Department of Transportation (DOT) makes specific provisions regarding the labelling of hazardous materials in transport. It may be noted here that in the U.S., the failure to warn also can be grounds for litigation holding manufacturers, employers and others liable for injuries incurred by workers.

In Canada, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) promotes the total well-being – physical, psychosocial and mental health – of working Canadians by providing information, training, education, management systems and solutions that support health, safety and wellness programs.

In the United Kingdom, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the national regulator for workplace health and safety. It prevents work-related death, injury and ill health. It make arrangements for and encourage research and publication, training, and information in connection with its work.

In Australia, the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) laws, previously known as Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) laws, regulate safety. However, the Safe Work Australia leads the development of national policy to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia. Though it does not regulate or enforce WHS legislation, it can however, provide education, training and advice on work health and safety and how to incorporate safety management into the business operations.

A large set of existing standards provides voluntary recommendations regarding the use and design of safety information. These standards have been developed by multilateral groups and agencies, such as the United Nations (UN), the European Economic Community (EEC), the International Labour Office (ILO), the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC); and by national groups, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the British Standards Institute (BSI), the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the German Institute for Normalization (DIN) and the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC).

It may be remembered here that Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) training is a pre-requisite for obtaining ISO certifications, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001.


Workers awareness on the potential hazards and their prevention need to be increased so that the management can implement effective accident prevention programme successfully.
Safety training and education is an important organisational strategy for any total accident prevention programme. Safety training at all levels is one of the important corporate strategies to help improve working conditions and environment through enlightened cooperation and collaboration of employees. Such a programme, however, has to have cooperation and commitment of all the levels of the organisation in the process of identifying, designing and conducting training.

The employers throughout the world provided a vast amount of safety information to workers, both to encourage safe behaviours and to discourage unsafe behaviours. Modern safety and health professionals have a key role to play in ensuring that all employees at all levels receive appropriates types and amounts of training. Safety Officer or Training Officer acts as a coordinator of this activity and takes further initiative in checking its results on the total organisational safety performance.

The success of these training programmes, requires help, support and active encouragement by senior management and enlightens appreciation and assistance by departmental heads. It must be borne in mind that the training is an inseparable process for promoting safe, healthy and productive work environment in any organisation.

Article by —–

Mr. R.R. Nair, Chief Executive, Safety and Health Information Bureau, Vashi, Navi Mumbai
Mr. R.R. Nair,
Chief Executive,
Safety and Health Information Bureau,
Vashi, Navi Mumbai


Mr. R. R. Nair is currently the Director of Safety and Health Information Bureau. He is an ex-employee of Central Labour Institute, DGFASLI, Mumbai, and retired from the Government Service after 28 years. He has more than 50 years’ experience in occupational safety, health & fire protection. He participated in a number of seminars, conferences, workshops on safety, health and fire protection at National and International levels. He has carried out about 85 projects in safety, health, environment and fire protection (safety audits, accident investigations, environmental studies, hazard identification and risk assessment (HIRA), hazardous zone classifications, fire safety audits in high rise buildings, etc.) PAN India. He is author of 15 books and about 80 articles in various topics on safety and allied subjects.

He can be contacted on:
M: +91 7045172050, +91 9224212544
Resi: +91 477 2266994
E-mail: /





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