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Traditionally, health and safety training took place in person, at the workplace or at a training centre. But over the past decade, many employers have begun adopting online health and safety training for their staff. Choosing e-learning for health and safety training comes with a variety of benefits both for the organisation and the individual.
Keep in mind, employers are obligated to provide new recruits with some form of health and safety training in the UK. Ensuring that staff understand health and safety regulations and have the tools to work safely is a legal requirement. Contract workers may also have to undergo the same training before they can begin working.
On top of that, as health and safety guidance changes over time, long-standing employees will have to receive refresher courses. All of which means that if you are an HR representative or a health and safety officer in the UK, regular workplace training is a part of your remit. And it always will be.
The global Coronavirus pandemic has underscored an obvious benefit of online training: it allows employers to efficiently provide training to largely remote staff.
But there’s more to in online training than it being a robust solution to overcoming lockdown limitations. Let’s look at the top 5 reasons organisations should invest in online health and safety training for their workforce.
1. Remote Learning is COVID-safe
The strict measures of lockdown in the UK have forced a huge proportion of the workforce to do their jobs from home. People may return to the workplace once life is again how it was pre-COVID. But it still isn’t clear how quickly this will occur, or if things will ever return to what was once normal.
So, businesses will have to keep much of their daily operations digital for the foreseeable future. And that includes obligatory staff training.
With a health and safety training, HR specialists, training mangers, and health and safety officers can ensure that their employees receive all the latest courses from the comfort and safety of their home offices. E-learning programmes remove the risk of infection posed by face-to-face interactions.
As a result, in-house health and safety professionals can conduct a company-wide training regime, which staff can take part in with complete peace of mind.
2. Virtual health and safety training is time-efficient
Conventional training is easily put off. Whether intentional are not, busy schedules are often reason enough for us to let training obligations slide much longer than we should.
It’s hard to argue against: after all, generating profit is what keeps the company lights on and pays the bills for staff. And when health and safety hazards are not immediately evident, it’s easy to forget the important role this training plays.
Health and safety e-learning reduces these obstacles, as employees are able to approach their learning on their own terms. Staff can complete the necessary health and safety training at times that suit their work schedules.
Unlike traditional methods, e-learning can be done gradually in small chunks over a longer period of time, during any down time during the day. This means e-learning allows everyone to take their training at their own convenience.
3. E-learning is better value for money
Online health and safety training removes a raft of costs. To start with, many e-learning options come with a significantly cheaper price tag than their classroom counterparts.
Industry standards such as the Institution of Occupational Safety’s managing safely courses can be as much as two-thirds cheaper when completed online.
In addition, as online training can be done anywhere, there’s no longer any need to send employees off on training courses. As a result, there are no more travel costs and the potential to pay for venues and accommodation, if the course lasts multiple days.
As outlined in reason 2, remote health and safety training allows workers to take their course gradually and at times that suit their work schedules. As such, output is less likely to be negatively impacted by the time spent taking a course. Employees can remain focused on their tasks, and take their training when they have the time for it. A win-win for the company’s books and the worker’s business objectives.
4. E-learning improves consistency of compliance
Employers need to ensure that their staff have received training that is thorough. They must also be able to prove that this training took place. In other words, they need consistency of compliance.
Classroom training experiences can vary widely due to uncontrollable factors, such as the quality and experience of the trainer, the number of trainees, or even the time of year that the training was undertaken.
After the completion of a classroom training course, it can also be much harder to check who has taken what training and what level was achieved. This can be due to lost paperwork, absent employees on the day of training, or a variety of other issues.
On the other hand, before assigning virtual courses to staff, company health and safety managers can ensure it clearly provides all the knowledge necessary. They can also ensure it is up-to-date with the latest industry changes. With an e-learning health and safety training, everyone receives the same quality of training.
Online learning management systems (LMS) also provide HR and health and safety officers with a handy tool. If industry changes or a new regulation impacts how health and safety is managed, a refresher course can easily be assigned.
LMS keep accurate records of who has completed what training when. This means demonstrating compliance only involves a couple of clicks.
5. Online training leads to better, lasting safety standards
No matter how effective any type of training is, workers will still forget course content over time as they return to their normal routines. Refresher courses are a great way of ensuring that material stays relevant in the minds of staff, but they are costly. In addition, certified trainers can be difficult to book regularly because of their costs and schedules.
As discussed above, online learning is much cheaper and easier to implement. This means staff can complete or refresh training much more frequently. And frequent study is vital, if you want your training to build new skills and lasting habits.
This is because learning management systems allow for microlearning, a system – mainly e-learning – that is streamlined into bite-sized units of focused content. With regular intervals of microlearning, workers can receive bespoke training based on their own needs as defined by them and their employer.
Research has demonstrated that microlearning is an essential to making new information and skills stick. As such, e-learning solutions lead to better, more lasting safety standards in the workplace.
How to move your health and safety training online?
If you’re a health and safety specialist or learning and development professional interested in taking your training to the online sphere, there are a variety of options out there. It’s important to shop around as not all of them offer the same depth or quality of content.
E-learning health and safety programmes can also vary widely in how they present the information. Factors such as the organisation of content, the quality of the videos, the languages the courses are offered in, and the type of assessment can have a big impact on whether your training investment is impactful.
There are many health and safety providers out there such as Human Focus, Safetyculture and Haspod. Many of these offer online health and safety courses and programmes that stand out. Most have a library of resources and course material, as well as an integrated mobile app to make access easy. Trainers can also use the powerful learning management system to easily conduct administration and reporting tasks.
E-learning systems will only get better as the technology we use continues to improve. And with more and more health and safety trainers also moving into the digital realm, why not join them now and reap the rewards of these top 5 reasons to invest in online training today?
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