June 30, 2022

Stand up for safety

Victoria West

Program Manager, Learning and Development

With summer vacation season kicking into high gear, workplace safety can sometimes become an afterthought. Today marks the end of national Safety Awareness Month, so I’d like to share my thoughts as it relates specifically to safety at Outrider.  Safety is part of all that we do here at Outrider. As Program Manager of Learning and Development, I have a unique amount of exposure and insight into our safety practices. From facilities and operations to cybersecurity and everything in between, safety is foundational to most of our training. 

Yet safety training can feel like a dull rehash of what we think we already know. It’s one matter to publish documents saying “you must do xyz to adhere to our safety standards.” It’s another matter entirely to obtain buy-in and make sure we maintain safety awareness even with the distraction of a cold drink on the beach occupying our thoughts. So how do we convince people that safety is of utmost importance and make it an integrated part of our company culture?

Training programs set the foundation for company knowledge, but training design makes all the difference when it comes to helping people internalize the information and put it into action. Training design turns a simple instructional PowerPoint (yawn) into something engaging for the learner and transformative for the company. The use of graphics, fonts, and user interaction all make for a more visually appealing and memorable way to deliver safety content. Additionally, quizzes and knowledge checks interspersed throughout the training content help ensure the learner is getting the necessary takeaways, further enhancing safety knowledge retention. It’s especially important this time of year to maintain a regular cadence for safety retraining and keep everyone’s minds fresh in the safety space. Whether it’s quarterly, biannually, or annually, establishing the right retraining interval can make or break the effectiveness of training content.

Excerpt: Outrider’s Safety Training allows the learner to select different topics and check it off when each is completed.

Safety training translates to safety in action at Outrider by way of our standing Safety Committee, chaired by Mitch Valera, Senior Manager of Customer Operations. The Safety Committee is responsible for reviewing and creating policies designed to mitigate potential safety hazards. They meet bi-weekly to review concerns and requests from across the company. There are special sub-committees that focus on particular areas of safety, including system safety for our autonomous tech, customer and test site operations, and facilities. 

For Safety Awareness Month, the Safety Committee sponsored a “Kids of Outrider” drawing contest to bring attention to safety at work and at home. To enter the contest, kids were asked to draw a safety scene – ranging from Outrider-specific to everyday activities, such as wearing a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads while skateboarding. The committee judged the drawings on creativity, personal protective equipment (PPE) featured, and quality.  By bringing in contributions from family, we encouraged safety thinking in a broader context. 

Winner of the age 5- to 10-years group

Winner of the age 12 and up group

Every day of the year, we want people to go home just as they arrive at work each morning: bringing their whole, authentic selves. While safety is top-of-mind year-round at Outrider, we participate in Safety Awareness Month to renew our vigilance to put “Safety First.” We want our employees to be safe whether they are in the office, at our Advanced Testing Facility, or at our customers’ distribution yards. A large part of that relies on thoughtful training design that goes beyond simply presenting information in a slide deck. Even as we wrap up Safety Awareness Month and enjoy all that summer has to offer, we continue to maintain our culture of safety by focusing on training design as a way to bring safety into our everyday lives.

Victoria West, Program Manager, Learning and Development

Victoria is the program manager of learning and development at Outrider. She comes from a background in aerospace engineering, where she has had the opportunity to learn both the engineering and people side of operations. She believes that engineering knowledge should be accessible to everyone, and strives to use training courses to make that a reality.

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