Safety Articles

Article # 11100

Training and Safety: The Critical Fusion

Welding is serious business that requires an equally serious approach to training. That's why companies like Briskin take a pro-active approach to their training needs. Irv Funk, director safety and training, notes that safety training is an on-going process that involves everyone. "We start new employees off with an orientation so that they understand safety rules here. Then, the intensive training comes when they're on the job. "The lead workers take responsibility for training their new workers. "The lead workers can solve almost any problem on the line. Some have been here for 20 years. They can build tanks, they can read blueprints. Who better to train someone new? They're a great resource for new employees."

Because they believe in this type of valuable mentoring relationship, Briskin's team uses a buddy system for training. New employees are teamed with veterans and spend their first days on the job watching the operations. "Even though our new welders come to us with experience, they're still very nervous and afraid they'll make mistakes. We want them to spend a lot of time watching before they actually do anything. They could spend weeks working under a lead worker. We want to make sure they're thoroughly prepared to be on their own before we put them in that solo situation." Briskin reinforces its new hire training with supervisor safety meetings every week. In addition, all employees - even the 20-year veterans - attend a refresher welding training course every January.

Vincente Rivera of Cyprus Sierrita, says that new employees at his facility go through 24 hours of training when they come on board so that they can learn about the company, its processes and its safety requirements. "After that, they go through an 8-hour, on-site training," he explains. "From there it gets more customized. We give them 8 hours of training in the particular area where they'll be working to learn about specifics in that job - plus any additional hazards they might be exposed to."

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, new workers are at much greater risk for injury because they so often lack one vital tool to protect themselves: information. With over 40% of workers injured having been on the job less than one year, all companies should take a lesson from those organizations such as Briskin and Cyprus Sierrita who are pro-actively training employees to lower the risk of injury and raise the overall "safety quotient" in their companies.