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February 20, 2011

For Dangerous Jobs, Interactive Training Helps Prevent Deadly Mistakes

Hands-on safety training for workers in highly hazardous jobs is most effective at improving safe work behavior, according to psychologists who analyzed close to 40 years of research. However, less engaging training can be just as effective in preparing workers to avoid accidents when jobs are less dangerous, says the American Psychological Association.

More interactive types of safety training may help employees become more aware of the threats they face on the job and avoid making deadly mistakes, according to the findings in the January issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Researchers analyzed results from 113 safety training studies including 24,694 workers in 16 countries. For jobs where the likelihood of death or injury was highest, the findings showed that more engaging training (e.g., behavioral modeling, simulation and hands-on training) was considerably more effective than less engaging training (such as lectures, films, reading materials and videos) for both learning about and demonstrating safety on the job. Less engaging training was just as effective in regard to improving these outcomes when the risk for death or injury was low.
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