Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

With so many of us spending so much time on Zoom, a creative background can help to get attention and maybe make a boring Zoom meeting just a little bit more interesting. You can download any of these four Zoom backgrounds here. 

You can also create your own at Canva.com

Happy Training!

PS – Do you remember Zoom, the TV show? That was one of my favorites and I can still hear the song in my head ūüôā

The Coronavirus Image

A recent article in Popular Mechanics talked about how the coronavirus image we are all so used to seeing by now was created by the CDC and while reading it, I noticed several key facts related to the use of images in safety training.


Image courtesy of CDC

  • The 3D image shown above of the coronavirus is artificially colored to make it more effective. The artists stated that they chose red on gray to make the image stand out.¬†Have you ever used color to get your message across? I wonder how people would respond to the same image if it was pink and baby blue. Or, if the image was all one color. Would it have the same effect? Doubtful.
  • Before creating the 3D image, the artists spoke with experts to gather information on what the virus looks like up close and learned there are 3 kinds of proteins that do different jobs.¬†Like images used in safety training, it is important to use photos and illustrations that are the same or very similar to the idea you want to get across. Knowing key details about what you are trying to explain, and making sure those key details are included in the image, is very important.
  • The texture was selected to look like orange skin and helps the model seem touchable.¬†Why is it important if the virus seems touchable? Imagine if the model of the coronavirus shown was simply a wooden model that looked like something you might have built back in a high school chemistry class. Making the surface seem touchable, and even something you are familiar with like orange skin, makes the virus more realistic. Realistic photos not only stay in our mind longer but help us to make sense of how this little gray ball with red bumps can do so much harm.
  • If you search for “coronavirus image” you will get over 10 Billion results! This image or something very similar is shown with many of the coronavirus stories published, especially in items published during the beginning of the pandemic. ¬†Just like good communication in safety training, illustrations, or photos of complex ideas are key to getting attention and helping to explain complicated ideas and information. Text with accompanying related images do a much better job of getting key information across.

When you are creating your next safety training materials, make sure you pay attention to the images you use and what message they get across. You may have to create something yourself or hire someone to help you get exactly what you need. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.






The Making of a Sketchnote

Recently I had the pleasure of participating on a panel with Abby Ferri, Regina McMichael and Tim Page-Bottorff titled “The Superheroes of Safety Training Spill Their Secrets” as part of the American Society of Safety Professional’s first ever virtual safety conference. I wanted a good way to share a summary of our presentation and since I love visual aids, I decided to have a sketchnote created. ¬†If you are unfamiliar with sketch notes, it is a form of visual note taking that uses illustrations, symbols and text to quickly convey information. ¬†As you will see in the video shown here, my plans were changed when my sketchnote provider could no longer provide the service.


Overall, I am pleased with the final outcome. If you would like to download the full final version (shown below) click here. Hope you like it!


The New and Revised HazardHunt is Here!

mediamodifier_imageIn 2009, the first collection of HazardHunt activities was published and now, 11 years later, it is even better! Thousands of safety professionals around the world have used HazardHunt illustrations to increase interaction and learning in their safety training classes. Their suggestions and advice have led to a new and expanded edition.  The new edition includes all of the original materials PLUS:

  • 3 New HazardHunt illustrations
  • A color-coded Answer Key for every illustration
  • Corrective Action Activity Sheets
  • The New fully downloadable Hazard Hunter board game

I’m excited about the updates and hope you are too! If you purchase the new book by August 31st, you will receive 3 additional HazardHunt illustrations as a thank you for your early support!¬†

Click here to purchase either the eBook or the paperback version (which includes a free download of the eBook too!) and don’t forget – order before the end of August and get 3 additional illustrations as a thank you!

Workflow Learning Part 2

Alexa,How Do I Do This?In the last post, I talked about workflow learning. We all do this every day and it’s increasingly simple with technology becoming more prevalent in our daily lives. Stop and think how many times a day you need information on the spot which requires you to do a quick search on Google or YouTube. Check out your search history and you will probably see that you are doing this more than you realize. ¬†Lately, my personal go-to source for workflow learning is Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. If I am in the middle of following a recipe and need to figure out the equivalent measurement for an ingredient in metric, I just ask Alexa. I could take a class on the metric system vs. the English system but instead, Alexa provides the information where I need it when I need it. If the same recipe tells me to “braise” something and I have no idea how to do that, I quickly question Alexa or Siri and get the answer instead of me having to go and take a cooking skills class ¬†(which is actually still not a bad idea).

Alexa and similar technologies can provide what is known as performance support. Safety professionals might be more familiar with the idea of job aids which serve as (usually) visual reminders of what needs to be done. Activities that require a certain set of steps to be done in a particular order are usually supported by a job aid. Job aids can be used in life or death situations and can often be found alongside AEDs and displayed at permit required confined spaces (PRCS). In both of these instances, the individuals who use the job aid should have previously attended corresponding training. The individuals pulling out an AED to save someone’s life will have learned to use the AED in a classroom setting but when it’s time to actually use it in an emergency situation, a job aid can be extremely important to help guide the user through the right steps, especially when the chaos of the situation may cloud someone’s ability to think straight. Similarly, a job aid at a PRCS is another example of on the job learning in the form of performance support. The individuals involved with entering a confined space will have been trained and tested on their ability to successfully enter a PRCS but if they have questions while setting up or during the entry , they need the information now – during the workflow, Providing learning as the work is being done is key to workflow learning.

Traditional classroom training, done correctly, will provide opportunities for the trainee to think how the information will apply to their job responsibilities. Interactive activities can help make this connection and can help the learning stick. What is very difficult to include in a training class though are special circumstances or situations that may arise when the job is actually being performed. Being able to provide instruction or learning in these special situations as they occur on the job is what workflow learning is all about.

There are various apps out that exist to provide on the spot learning (like first aid apps, chemical hazard guides, arc flash calculators, or fall related apps) and Alexa may provide some help but likely an on demand source of information on the job will be through the use of technology or even immediate access to someone who will have the answers. Does something look out of place during a routine inspection? Imagine if a worker could photograph it and send it to an expert for their opinion and be able to receive direction on what it means and/or what to do. The trainee would have experienced  workflow learning and the next time a situation presents itself, the employee will have learned through workflow learning how to handle it correctly.

Workflow learning can push training delivery beyond the walls of the training classroom. This makes it more realistic, more applicable to the trainees’ world and therefore more likely to be remembered and since all training is wasted if it isn’t retained, this is key.

Think….how can you move your training beyond the walls and get it to the trainees where and when they need it? Building in workflow learning is key.

Workflow Learning

help buttonWhen you are working on a PowerPoint presentation and need to figure something out, what do you do? If you go to the “Help” tab and search for what you are trying to figure out, you are experiencing Workflow Learning. ¬†If you stopped what you were doing and went and attended an in-person or online PowerPoint Skills training class, ¬†you were NOT experiencing workflow learning and instead, partaking in traditional skills training.

Do you see the big difference? One is done in the course of your normal work and the other requires you to stop and do something different.

When we deliver safety training, trainees are away from their normal job, and away from the situations where the training class information will be used. This means that the trainee is going to have to transfer the information back to their day to day job in order for the training to be worthwhile. ¬†Sometimes it’s necessary to spend a day or more providing training information and teaching new skills but other times, trainees (and you have probably experienced this yourself too) just want the answer when they need it.

Do you build workflow learning into your training efforts? If so, what have you found to be effective? If not, can you think of a few ways to provide this kind of support to your workforce?   Please add your comments below and stay tuned for some suggestions to add workflow learning to your training program in future posts.

In Honor of Women in Construction Week

Black White Simple Quote Instagram PostThe National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) created Women in Construction (WIC) Week to highlight women as an important part of the construction industry and to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women there.  According to CNBC, women make up a little over 9% of the construction industry. If you ever walk around a construction site or sit in on a construction safety training class, you are unlikely to see any signs or training materials where  women are included.

After a image was shared in the American Society of Safety Professional’s Women in Safety Excellence group¬†of a scantily clad woman used as part of a crane safety hand signals poster, I decided to redo the image to look like what a real woman demonstrating crane safety hand signals might look like.

I then created a series of these images and used them in a Safety Lotería game. (If you are unfamiliar with Safety Lotería, click here.)

In honor of Women in Construction Week, I have uploaded the Crane Safety Hand Signals Safety Loter√≠a to the Free Stuff section of the SafetyFUNdamentals website. It won’t be there for long though so click on over now to download a free copy.

Finally, I’d like to thank all the women who are brave enough to work in construction in order to do what they love, support themselves and their families ¬†and provide real-life examples to the younger generation who may be more interested and willing to pursue a career in construction because they can see others that look like them already doing it successfully.

Happy Women in Construction Week!

Game On!

level 2After several months of work, and lots of trial and error, I have completed my Level 2 Gamification Journeyman through Sententia Gamification. My final project was titled “Hazard Hunter” and was mentioned in an earlier blog post. Through my earlier completed Level 1 class and now Level 2, I learned so much about what goes into a successful game design. You know the saying “You don’t know what you don’t know?” Well this sums up my experience exactly. I encourage everyone to learn at least a little about gamification and find ways to incorporate it into your safety training. If you need ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to brainstorm some ideas with you.

Note: If you want to take a look at Hazard Hunter, I’m happy to share that too. As I continue to get feedback from other safety professionals who volunteered to try out the game, I will keep making revisions to make it the most effective it can be.

Learner Personas

Learner Personas-3Learner Personas are fictitious but realistic profiles, based on actual data, of the individuals you expect to attend your training classes. Your learner persona will have a name, age, gender and maybe some details about their life and what motivates them.  Finding a photo of this learner persona and keeping it in front of you as you develop and prepare training materials can help keep you on target and help make sure training materials are going to be right for your intended audience. Sometimes, you will need to develop several personas if you have a wide variety of people in a class.

It can be really difficult to generalize an entire trainee population but it is important to consider the wants and needs of the majority of the group.  If you work with your trainees everyday, it will be easy to create this persona. What do they do in their free time? What gets them excited? What do they dislike? What is their background, education level and experience with the company? All of these questions can help you to provide safety training that is best matched for your audience.

I first came across the need to create a player persona during a recent course I took on gamification. One of my assignments was to create several personas for the type of trainees I think will be using the safety training games I am designing. Two of my player personas are shown below:


Meet  Fix-It Frank 

Frank is a 38 year old¬†High School Graduate and 2-year Vo-Tech graduate who is¬†married with 3 kids. ¬†He is a¬†Production Maintenance Supervisor at his current company for the last 15 years. He believes work is just work and is only willing to do what he is specifically paid to do. His biggest complaint is that there are too many work orders for¬†the¬†number of staff in his department and there is little appreciation for the ‚Äúmiracles‚ÄĚ he is able to pull off. He is also not a fan of excessive¬†safety rules and¬†feels¬†that¬†they slow him down. He loves professional football and Nascar and plays 3rd base on the company softball team.



Meet  Mario the Manager 

Mario is 60 years old, married with 2 kids and 5 grandchildren and has been with his company for 35 years. He graduated High School plus completed various certificate programs through work including Lean Six Sigma training. He is currently Packaging Manager but has also previously held the positions of Line Supervisor, Packer and Forklift driver. Mario works hard everyday and takes pride in a job well-done. He arrives early and stays late if necessary. His biggest complaints are around the lack of initiative of younger workers and too much required paperwork. Mario loves baseball and uses his vacation time every year to travel to Florida to watch Spring Training.

If these two individuals represented the type of trainees in your training classes, what would you be sure to include and careful not to include? Would e-learning or traditional classroom learning be better? What type of illustrations and case studies could you use that would get and keep their attention? What would they relate to best?

If you are including interactive learning activities, would a team-based hands-on activity work better than an individual pen and paper writing exercise? How much competition would this group like?

All of these considerations are important to consider. Before you decide what type of training you will deliver and what type of interactive class activities you will introduce, it is important to consider the type of trainees you will have in your class. Learner Personas are a great way to do that and by keeping personas like “Fixit Frank” and “Mario the Manager” in mind, you will stay on track and not fall into the trap of designing and using something you yourself would like but that is of little interest or not effective for your trainees.

Take a second to give it a try. How would you characterize one of your typical learner personas? I’d love to hear what you come up with!