How To Write Training That Works: health and safety


How to write training that worksWriting training material is a specialized job. But often, in a small business, nonprofit organization, charity or similar circumstances, there isn’t the budget to bring in a specialized supplier. Here’s the HTWB solution, with Jackson Rawlings…

To see all articles in the How To Write Training That Works series, check out the category “Training That Works” in the side bar to the right —>>>

Health and Safety

Health and Safety has, let’s face it, quite a bad reputation in our society. ‘Health and safety gone mad’ horror stories are abound in the media and it’s difficult to view it as anything other than an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.

The truth is, most of these tales of ‘OTT’ rules and regulations do Health and Safety a big disservice: much of what is outlined in systems like IOSH is just plain common sense.

So writing training material for such a controversial subject is not easy, but it is rewarding in that you are in a unique position to change people’s perceptions about the real usefulness and necessity of Health and Safety. Here are some tips to get you on your way:

Take it seriously…but not too seriously

As mentioned, people are often very sceptical about the benefits of Health and Safety. It’s your job to convince them otherwise, but be careful how you attempt to do this.

It’s a bit of a case of ‘the lady doth protest too much’; if you spend your whole session convincing your delegates why Health and Safety is so great, you’ll probably put them off it even more.

Instead, admit the shortcomings with a pinch of humour. If something does seem over the top, explain how it needn’t be. Most of all, don’t be defensive. You won’t seem assured and your delegates will lose trust and confidence.

Justify everything

This may appear contrary to everything I’ve just said but I assure you, it’s not. There’s a big difference between justifying something with a reasoned argument and just sounding petulant and defensive.

Make sure you come across as the former. Justifying the need for Health and Safety is important, as to some it can seem like a waste of time. Use real-life examples of how Health and Safety has had a positive impact to make your points for you.

Give examples of myths

medium_3530629696Another great way to explain the need for Health and Safety is to dismiss the common misconceptions held about it.

Schools making students wear safety goggles to play conkers? Myth. Graduates no longer allowed to throw mortar boards in the air? Also a myth.

The Health and Safety Executive has a great list of these classic myths for you to choose from, as well as their ‘myth of the month’. Pepper your material with these myths as (reasoned) rebuttals to any potential ‘health and safety gone mad’ claims.

Do it by the book

With Health and Safety training, there will usually be a set structure and set of principles to which you are subscribing. The reason for this is that Health and Safety regulations are often legal requirements or at least heavily promoted by governments and institutions.

In that sense, diverging from the ‘set text’ can be tricky and is therefore best avoided unless you’re so comfortable with the material you can teach it in your sleep (a state to aim for, but not necessarily all that realistic!)

Simply put, use the resources available and don’t try to ‘blag’ it.

Don’t be wishy-washy

The last thing you want to do when training Health and Safety is fumble over or worse, make up reasons for its importance.

If you really don’t know the reason for a certain regulation, be honest and say you’ll endeavour to find out. This will generally be better received than some mumbled excuse about a non-existent or undefined rule.

Be straightforward and to the point, and use all the methods outlined above to back yourself up.

Hopefully this helps you address the most common problems faced by Health and Safety trainers. Remember:

  • Don’t be too serious
  • Justify with examples
  • Bust those myths!
  • Stick to the rules
  • Be straight to the point

Don’t forget – to see all articles in the How To Write Training That Works series, check out the category “Training That Works” in the side bar to the right —>>>

How to write training that works

Jackson Rawlings

Thanks for reading!


Jackson Rawlings
Digital Marketer
Silicon Beach Training

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