Is Charlie Brown’s Teacher an OSHA Trainer? (Video post)

Freeze Frame of Video - Charlie Brown's Teacher

Hi, it’s Steven St. Laurent, the Spanish OSHA Guy. Watch this video, then see my commentary below.

Do you remember Charlie Brown’s teacher. It always cracks me up to see a scene when all those Peanuts characters are in school. How can we avoid the “Charlie Brown Teacher Affect” when we train or give a safety talk?

Often when I walk into my OSHA 10 hour and 30 hour training, I run into construction and manufacturing folks who are not shy about their opinion that safety trainers are boring! In a previous blog post I wrote about one powerful way to combat that and be a dynamic trainer who engages his or her audience no matter what industry you are in. That is to simply ask what the audience wants to learn, talk about or has question on. Everyone is different in their personality: outgoing, shy, has no problem speaking in front of a group, or sweats when they speak in front of a group. But even though this is true, if you can stimulate their mind, those fears and that self-consciousness will decrease and -as a result- their opinions, thoughts and desire to participate will increase.

Here is another tip.

People like to have fun. If you create an inviting environment and draw on or build upon what people already know, then you are starting from their comfort zone. This fosters great participation and I have witnessed it first hand over the years I’ve trained across the country and in Mexico in English and Spanish. This is why game-show style quizzes and activities go over so well: because they already know what to expect and it is fun. Check out my list of ideas below.

The success of any activity does depend on the culture, but if you are training English speakers in America, you are in luck! Also, Spanish-speakers love games shows and so do Japanese. I once bid a huge job where there were going to be five OSHA 10 hour trainings for a group of Koreans. I asked the interpreter that I was going to work with if she thought my Construction Family Feud game would go over well. She did not think so. I was surprised, but was ready to adjust and re-create the first few hours of my OSHA 10. As it turned out, I didn’t win the bid, but that preparation and forward thinking represents the type of thing that will pay off huge dividends in a training! There’s nothing like being prepared!

Here are some ideas that I and other trainers have experienced great results with:

Games Show Ideas

  • Jeopardy
  • Family Feud
  • $100,000 Pyramid


  • Pick a topic like ladder safety and have people write on sticky notes all the violations that they have done or have seen. Then, have them try to find those violations in the OSHA standards in groups or teams to see who finds it first. You can assign points as well.
  • Whenever you ask a series of questions, make it into a game -if time allows.
  • Use multiple, short videos (30 seconds – 5 minutes). Never just show a video without introducing it. Always set up a video with a question that is answered in the video (therefore people will be listening more intently), or ask them to find the main points that are shown in the video, or even tell them to listen for a goofy fact that is mentioned.
  • Use multiple, short videos (30 seconds – 5 minutes). Never show a video without debriefing it. Ask a lot of questions that being with “Why” and “What” and have people give their opinion or the answers. Don’t just “teach”, “lecture” or give the answers yourself.
  • Have people from your training make 5 to 15-minute presentations on topics of their expertise.

All these ideas will liven up your OSHA training, make them more memorable and engage the employees. As a result, those people will put the concepts into practice and be safer! Because when we enjoy what we do, we do it better. The richness of my last example of having people in the training speak to the group was evidenced in one of my trainings by two people on a break who came up to me and said of another employee who had just given a 7-minute talk, “WOW, I’ve worked with that guy for years and never knew he had such knowledge about that topic!”

I often say people are walking books, we should take the time to open them so we can listen and learn!


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Leave A Reply (3 comments so far)

  1. spanishOSHAguy
    6 years ago

    Thanks, Andrew. I’ll keep it going with challenging content. If people make one change in their lives to be safer, then I’ve done my job.

  2. Easy Safety School
    6 years ago

    This is funny. You crack me up, Steven.

    • spanishOSHAguy
      6 years ago

      Glad to see you are looking at the blog and articles! I hope my tips were helpful for you as well!

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