Training Development

The Safety Office develops most of the general training for the University but a supervisor or department may want to develop additional general or specific training for their workers. This page explains the Safety Office process for developing and maintaining training and discusses how it can be used by supervisors to develop site-specific training.

Training courses need to be developed to impart or improve the skills, abilities and knowledge to influence their work behaviour and attitude to perform the tasks of their job safely and effectively.

Following a systematic approach utilizing the Plan, Do, Check, Act process for developing training courses includes determining:

  1. Training needs
  2. Training objectives
  3. Method of delivery
  4. An evaluation method
  5. A review process

Training needs

Conducting a training needs assessment will determine what training is required by identifying the hazards of the job or task and then determining the controls necessary to remove or mitigate the risk of exposure to the hazards.

Begin with a risk assessment of the job, task or procedure to determine the hazards that are present so that appropriate controls can be implemented to reduce the risk of exposure. Ensure that the controls follow the hierarchy of controls:

  1. Elimination
  2. Substitution
  3. Engineering controls
  4. Administrative controls
  5. Personal protective equipment

Training objectives

Training objectives should be clearly stated at the beginning of the training course. Objectives should indicate the target audience and the desired level of skill that is expected upon completion. The objectives need to be simple and easily demonstrated. Training objectives are tied closely with the results of the risk assessment that identifies the controls for specific hazards.

The goal of training is to teach to the participant:

  • The necessary knowledge to organize and perform the work
  • An understanding of the regulations that apply to the work
  • The ability to work safely despite hazards and risks that are associated with the work

Delivery method

Safety training can be delivered in many formats. Delivery method is based upon the level of risk. Higher risk work requires more in-depth training and demonstration of competency. Delivering training for higher risk activities may require performing activities with higher risk, for example a forklift operator will likely have to place loads in racking systems to demonstrate competency. Methods of delivery include but are not limited to:

  • Review of
    • Guidelines and standards
    • Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
    • Manufacturer/supplier instruction
  • Specialist instruction – external providers
  • Online and computer-based training
  • Classroom sessions/seminars
  • Toolbox talks

Literacy levels and proficiency with the English language may impede the method of delivery. It is important that the facilitator can determine when language or other learning barriers are preventing delivery of core competencies.


Various methods are available to assess knowledge:

  • Workplace observation – observing personnel complete task during normal duties followed up with written or oral comments or corrections.  Useful for determining workers retention of knowledge.
  • Oral/written quiz – questions can be in many formats; true/false, multiple choice, short answer, etc. Useful for assessing theoretical knowledge and can provide an in-depth assessment of the knowledge of the worker
  • Practical demonstration – the participant is required to complete a task or series of tasks designed to test level of skill, or their selection of appropriate tools and equipment. Testing of this nature is normally performed under controlled or simulated conditions.
  • Procedures assessment – the participant demonstrates understanding of procedure explaining using oral or written description, how to perform a task which is assessed by the facilitator. This is often useful prior to performing a higher risk task.

Level of competency can be deemed inadequate when there are indications that competency is deteriorating or lacking, this includes but is not limited to:

  • Unsafe use of equipment
  • Near miss or injury
  • Expired training
  • Lack of understanding or failure to follow standard operating procedures



Training courses shall be periodically reviewed. Periodic review should consider the following when.

  • Applicable legislation changes
  • Relevant standards are updated
  • Feedback is received from participants
  • A change in process occurs
  • An incident investigation reveals gaps in a program

Safety office training that is part of a program (e.g. the Working with Radiation (SO 2030) and the Radiation Program) is naturally reviewed yearly along with the yearly program review. Any training course that is not part of a program (e.g. Forklift Training (SO 1027)) is reviewed periodically as needed at a minimum of every five years and completion of the review is documented by the Safety Office.


Feedback from the training should be solicited from trainees to assist with the review. Feedback should consider:

  • Was the delivery format appropriate
  • Was content stated objective delivered
  • Sufficient time for questions/comments was provided
  • Did the training provider exhibit subject matter expertise
  • General comments from trainees

The Safety Office collects feedback from in-class participants through paper forms, and online participants via a LEARN survey at the end of the course.

Refresher training

Refresher training is provided to remind the workers of their duties and what is necessary to successfully complete a task safely. The need for refresher training is determined based off of:

  • Legal requirements
  • Best practices
  • Risk assessment results
  • Incident analysis
  • Supervisor/Department discretion
  • The content of refresher training should be based off the same process as full length training (i.e. needs analysis).

Supervisor training development

Supervisors are required to provide site/task-specific training to their workers on the processes and procedures used for their work. This section provides examples of how supervisors can use the training development process to complete site/task-specific training.


A supervisor is looking to purchase a new engine lift for lifting large pieces of equipment and moving them around their lab. As the supervisor, you need to prepare training for your workers.

Training needs

First, the supervisor will conduct a training needs assessment. What needs to be done to mitigate the risk? 

Many lab supervisors may buy the equipment, then communicate to other researchers within their lab that they must read the manual and understand it before operating it. The supervisor may even insist that researchers within the lab sign a form. This does not meet the standard of care we expect at UW. 

Supervisors are responsible for determining what hazards exist in a workplace, and ensuring these hazards are communicated to workers. In this case, the supervisor needs to complete a risk assessment on the addition of the equipment, starting with a pre-purchase checklist.

Training objectives

Based on the results of the risk assessment, the supervisor now needs to determine the training objectives for the workers. The objectives need to ensure that the workers can safely complete tasks using the new equipment. Training should include:

  • Communication about the hazards and how to control them
  • A demonstration on how to use the equipment to complete the worker’s assigned tasks
  • Information on how to troubleshoot issues that may arise
  • How to work with chains and slings

Method of delivery

The supervisor decides that the best training delivery method is to arrange for an outside contractor to come in and train the workers on the following:

  • Proper rigging techniques for the new hoist
  • How to properly inspect the chains and slings to ensure they are in good condition

Evaluation method

The supervisor works with the training provider to develop an SOP for using the lift and each worker must sign that they are comfortable using the equipment based on the training provided and to indicate that they will follow the procedures in the SOP.

Review process

This training will not have a formal review process, such as an annual review, but because this is a lifting device, it requires an annual inspection to verify that it is functioning correctly and can lift its rated loads. 

The supervisor identifies an opportunity to link a refresher training session to the annual inspection and arranges for annual refresher training from a third party while the unit is receiving its annual inspection. This ensures that each worker is updated at least annually on the safe operation of the hoist and the supervisor can update procedures if there have been any changes.


A plant operations manager has noticed that several workers have been seen standing on ad-hoc platforms such as chairs, desks and boxes when they should be using ladders or other approved work platforms.

As the manager, you need to prepare training for your workers. 

Training needs

First, the manager will conduct a training needs assessment. Using a ladder is the right and safest way to work. What needs to be done to mitigate this risk?

The manager knew that workers had completed the Ladder Safety (SO 1050) training and was wondering why they were having this issue, so the manager went to talk to the workers. It was determined that many times the workers didn't want to go get a work platform for a short task and that the ladder storage area was really messy, and the ladders were hard to get to.

The training needs were determined to be:

  • The importance of housekeeping including the ladder storage area
  • Worker and supervisor responsibilities as they pertain to ladder use

Again, if the manager would have just told people to use the ladders, the manager may have missed out on some of the root causes.

Training objectives

Next, the manager will determine the training objectives for the staff. The objectives will be to ensure that workers:

  1. Understand and apply the housekeeping requirements in the ladder storage area
  2. Can identify the roles of workers and supervisor as they pertain to ladder use on campus

Method of delivery

This manager will use a toolbox talk. The manager will provide supervisors notes for a short discussion that they are expected to complete with all workers at the beginning of their next shift. A paper copy will also be posted on the notice board with a picture of how the ladder storage area should be organized.  

Evaluation method

This training will be evaluated by work observation. The manager will go out of their way for the first couple weeks to check ladder use and the storage area to see if the housekeeping has improved. Furthermore, the manager has decided that any ladder infractions will be reported to the worker’s supervisor and the worker will be required to retake the Ladder Safety (SO1050) training again.

Managers can require their workers to re-take a course at anytime as a refresher if they feel that the worker needs the additional training to safely complete their job. Some high-risk and/or legislated hazards already have refreshers built in such as Biosafety training (SO 1069) and Working with Radiation (SO 2030), but a supervisor may always request a worker to take it sooner.

Review process

This training will not have a review process as it is only intended to be used once. The manager will continuously monitor if the issue persists and implement further training, if necessary. 

If the manager chooses to make a full training course, documenting this process may be helpful.