There’s an old adage in training: “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you’ve told them.”
Sound a little odd? Well there’s a sound educational basis for the one-liner – most of us need time to assimilate new knowledge and getting to grips with new concepts requires time. There is only a certain amount of information that our working memory can absorb in any one training session – in psychology circles this is known as the “cognitive load” – the limited mental capacity that we have for processing new material.
So, why do companies still insist on waiting for contractors to turn up to their worksite, ‘hosepipe’ information at them, walk them around unfamiliar surroundings pointing at things, and then let them loose on site, expecting they’ve fully comprehended everything that’s been said?
The best approach to site induction is to deliver detailed information BEFORE visitors arrive on site, using text, photos, diagrams etc. Of particular importance is the provision of a site schematic – an overview of the ‘shape’ of the site. People new to the site will need this to make sense of any site walk-around. They need a context into which they can place the physical experience of a site visit.
There is also certain information that visitors and contractors might need beforehand, such as: Where is the site? Which entrance should I use? How do I get in? What are the relevant telephone numbers? What equipment should I bring? Etc.
Lastly, think of visitors and contractors from outside of high hazard industries like rail. For example, are they aware of the strict ultra-low alcohol level required by the rail industry? Would you really expect a contractor, upon arriving at site and being told of the level, to throw their hand in the air and say, “Oops, sorry, I went out drinking last night – I can’t come on site…” Highly unlikely!
So, we suggest the best worksite induction looks something like this:
- Step 1 – Online briefing and test before arrival;
- Step 2 – Quick verbal test and correction of any incorrect test results;
- Step 3 – Site walk-around to reinforce and embed information.
What are your experiences?