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Training and task simplification – both enhance safety

Normally we talk about training and task simplification with the emphasis on how it affects the skill level required to perform complex tasks. You can allow the task to remain complex and raise the skill level of the person performing the task or you can simplify the complex task so that even a lesser-skilled person can efficiently perform it.

We also relate this to productivity. We can raise the skill level to make it possible to more quickly perform tasks or we can simplify the task so that the task is easier (and faster) to perform.

But there is a third benefit having to do with training and task simplification. The safety related to any task is directly related these issues. The skill level of the person performing the tasks has a lot to do with how safe the task is to perform. You should easily agree that well trained people are less apt to make mistakes that can lead to dangerous situations. Indeed, people that are not well trained can be very dangerous. On the other hand, lowering the skill required to perform the task will also minimize the potential for dangerous mistakes.

To improve safety for a particularly dangerous task, we recommend incorporating both techniques. Target the task in your in-plant training sessions. While at the same time, consider ways to make the task easier to perform.

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