Having Fun With Safety: Using Humor to Prove Your Point

Perhaps you have heard the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.”  And, perhaps you have seen studies that support the health benefits of laughter.  I love to crack jokes and have a good time.  I feel better when I am smiling.  But can humor be part of safety training?

Let’s take fire safety, for instance.  This is a very serious matter.  Lives can be lost.  Property can be damaged.  But does this picture negatively impact a training session?

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Think about hand safety.  We all work with our hands.  I am working this keyboard right now.  When I train employees about hand safety (using the proper tools and using tools properly), I always say “Don’t use a wrench as a hammer, and if you use a hammer as a wrench…we have another problem.”  Now, I’m no Adam Sandler, but that one usually would get a chuckle or two.  Does this safety poster negatively impact a training session?

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Think about the last training session you were in.  Where you attentive?  Do you remember what it was about?  When I think back to my favorite teachers in high school, they are the ones who would bring humor to the classroom.  I feel that same way about training sessions in the workplace.  Even when the topic is serious, it can be infused with some humor.

I have included an excerpt and a link if you would like to read more.  It is from Elaine Biech in the book Training For Dummies.

Start off on a funny foot

Establish the atmosphere right from the start. Every session should start off on a high note to set the stage for the rest of the session. Be positive. You want to send the message that this will be fun.

Why add humor to the opening of a training session?

  • Relieves nervousness participants may feel
  • Establishes the environment for the rest of the session
  • Gets participants’ attention
  • Models that although the session is serious, the trainer does not necessarily believe in being glum

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/adding-humor-to-training.html

There is a time and place for everything.  Humor, when used the right way, can be a valuable training tool.

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on using humor in safety training?

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