The Value of Reciprocity

October 25th 2019
By: Carrie Whitfield, ASA Project Manager

In Alaska we have some unique environments, to say the least. A new person to the North Slope, for example, will definitely need some specific information; never underestimate mother nature, if you can’t see where you are going make sure you never leave where you are, if you see a bear don’t run. Granted, these aren’t your basic OSHA classes but does your new employee really need the basics?

Experienced employees don’t leave their experience behind when they find greener grass, so why do we treat them as if they do?  Daily duties, equipment and tool use, safety knowledge and many other daily tasks often don’t change from job to job, or even employer to employer. Employees are trained, mentored, and under supervision, gain experience and knowledge every day. Employees advance their skill level and pay, hopefully, with each new opportunity.

As their employer, we often accept their certifications, experience and degrees but not basic safety training. What allows us to be confident in the value of a certification or a degree? Why not assign the same value to their safety records? Reciprocity is the answer.

The certifying body likely has the approval of subject matter experts and set course requirements that can be easily verified and are delivered in controlled classroom or testing environments. Nothing random, nothing unverifiable. The degree program will have highly knowledgeable professors, delivering defined and exacting content often approved by university curriculum committees and other educated bodies.

What if we did the same for safety training? How much money, effort, time and job ramp up rush could that avoid? How much more would your experienced employee appreciate your training when it’s fresh and valid and teaches them more of what they need to know vs. what they already know?

Reciprocal safety councils exist all over the world. Get to know your local safety council and find out how much you could be saving by seeing the value of reciprocal safety trainings. 

© 2019 Alaska Safety Alliance