5 Ways That Competency Testing Improves Safety in the Workplace

5 Ways That Competency Testing Improves Safety in the Workplace
July 31, 2013 seouser

Most companies have something of a plan when it comes to occupational safety, but how often is this plan linked to competency testing? Think about it for a moment – you do your best to keep your employees safe while they’re on the job, and you have a system that reduces risks and weighs up possible dangers. How much of those risks relate directly to competency though? All of your well-planned safety strategies mean nothing when it takes just one under-skilled or wrongly placed employee to cause major risks. Whether this is a heavy machinery operator without a valid license, or even someone who accidentally presses the wrong button in a chemical plant, competency testing could save lives.

Competency Assessments and Occupational Safety

Here are just some of the things you should consider when it comes to linking your safety measures to competency assessments…

  1. Proactive approach – skills issues should be picked up before any employee is put into a potentially high risk job role or project. Is further training needed? Is the employee in question equipped to handle their duty? Proactive is far less risky than reactive when it comes to safety.
  2. Focus on individuals – each employee should be presented with a clear view of skills required to safely perform their job role or tasks. They should also each be able to develop any further required skills, knowing how the skills relate to their duties.
  3. Involve senior management – management should also be aware of whether their expectations are realistic or not. Employees should be placed into their roles according to assessments, to ensure that they are properly suited to jobs rather than simply pushed into performing under pressure.
  4. Invest in training – as an integral part of competency assessments, training measures can also be reviewed. Many mistakes (some deadly) are made simply because of a lack of training – whether it is poor material or poor teaching methods.
  5. Aim for continuous improvement – the continual approach works well in this instance, offering a constant channel to review competency through performance, training, understanding and other facets. Create a culture of improvement, and involve employees in your efforts.

We’ve all heard horror stories about incompetent employees causing havoc in factories, plants, shops and even corporate businesses. From factory workers forgetting an important safety step, to security guards sleeping on the job and letting in the bad guys, many of these stories are real life and not seen only on TV. Wouldn’t it be far simpler to look closely at the way you conduct competency testing than to wait and see if your company is the next star of such a horror story?