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Yes, You Can Do a Health and Safety Course Online!

Yes, You Can Do a Health and Safety Course Online!

“Health and safety guidelines” has become quite the buzzword since the beginning of 2020, for obvious reasons. But is that it? Is that the extent to our health and safety concerns in this day and age? Not at all! Health and safety training has always been a top concern for employers, Covid-19 just brought it into sharper relief.

When most of the world went into a sudden lockdown in 2020 and jobs became remote, employers had to strategize and come up with practical ways of doing business as usual. This didn’t just include affecting the bottom-line, it included the health and safety of the people who are the business. Employers began to (and continue to) invest significant resources in engaging industry professionals who could deliver effective skills training, including doing health and safety courses online.

The idea that health and safety training can only be effective in-person is an old one. It is based on the presumption that employees (who are, in effect, adult learners) need in-person teachers to learn and engage. Whether you’re a manager or an employee, take a moment to consider this—have you always needed a teacher to tell you how to perfect the tasks you perform at your workplace? We bet the answer is, ‘no’.

The fact is that engagement and learning can be woven into the content to make it just as informative and engaging as a trainer would. Couple that with new and improved methods of training delivery, and you have quite a powerful tool on your hands.

“Paper doesn’t save people, people save people.”

This was first said by Dr. Dan Peterson, an expert who applied human psychology, organizational structure, and business management concepts to job safety. It shifts the paradigm of health and safety training, doesn’t it? If you look at the health and safety of your employees and co-workers as ‘your’ responsibility rather than the ‘company’s’ responsibility, it changes how each of us approach health and safety courses. It no longer becomes a mandatory chore that one must do to receive a certificate of compliance. Rather, it transforms into personal accountability. So, whether it’s in-person or online, the mindset that your team goes in with, affects the effectiveness of a health and safety training.

Modify safety goals to match the training method, or vice versa?

Once you align yourself to the idea that it’s not paper but people who save people, you will quickly realize that it is the training method that needs to be and can be adapted. Your safety goals needn’t change to accommodate new training methods. Any course, including health and safety courses online, can be tailored to meet the specific goals of your organization. There is no need to compromise in this respect. In fact, take some time to think about what you need to keep your employees, visitors, contractors, and clients who come and go in your facilities, safe?

You may come up with responses like physical safety anywhere within the building, mental health, on-the-job safety, ergonomics, and so on. The list could be endless. However, identifying your top three or five or X number of health and safety priorities can orient you into thinking about how best to develop an online training that will meet those goals through a screen, while keeping your audiences engaged.

Since we’ve identified a few common themes across the board, let’s take a quick look at the kind of online courses you can expect to address these safety concerns.

Physical Safety

Courses dealing with health and safety during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic is an effective example for this theme. Courses talking about this topic typically address how to stay safe within the home, i.e., adopting safe practices like regular handwashing and sanitization, sanitization of the workstation, etc. They also address what organizations have done to protect those employees who cannot avoid going into the workplace and for the benefit of contractors, vendors, and customers who are expected to visit the building, including procedural details that protect them.

Such courses are generally content-focused, i.e., they are driven by the need to provide the learner with knowledge and information. Nevertheless, you can and should expect courses on these subjects to come with collaterals like job-aids that your learners can take away and pin to their workstations and other targeted areas, that will serve as a reminder of new procedures and protocols they’re expected to follow.

Mental Health

The topic of mental health is nuanced. However, it is not as daunting as it seems. Online courses that address mental health are typically a blend of providing knowledge and information as well as a how-to approach on addressing potential issues. As an employer, you may find that you need to provide a series of courses on this topic for your employees. The purposes of taking the series approach are:

  • Understanding that mental health is not a one and done issue.
  • Knowing that there are different kinds of mental health issues that employees may deal with, and one course may not tap into all of those effectively.
  • Keeping your employees from being fatigued by doing one, really long mental health course that may or may not resonate with them.

You should expect courses addressing mental health to be more interactive. With more videos and interactive media, the learner may feel more connected with the message that you’re trying to convey, instead of a relatively passive medium like reading. However, do not discount the power of reading material that can support your online course. Collaterals like posters and reference materials can offer your learner with more detailed insight into their topic of interest than you can cover in a course.

On-the-Job Safety

Also customizable and nuanced, on-the-job safety topics can spread far and wide. A blended approach is most common when referring to on-the-job safety online courses. You have how-to guides, video tutorials, ask an expert, and other tools you can take to this subject.

If you are a large employer, you might want to invest your resources into using interactive media to deliver such content. The use of augmented reality and virtual reality in this space has been increasing year upon year, as organizations test and reap higher benefits using these technologies.

However, if you are a smaller company with a modest budget or a smaller team, wherein such a huge investment cannot be reasonably justified, you can still access online courses that will address your needs. Expect a heavier use of graphics and visual aids to convey key concepts and provide visual clarity of expected tasks.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics has been on the list of popular online health and safety courses for a long time. However, with remote work becoming a predominant feature across the globe, it has reemerged as a hot button topic. Employers realized that ergonomics was not top-of-mind when employees first started to work from home. However, it quickly became a niggling issue that could take someone out of commission, for instance because they used a dining table chair instead of an office chair in their workspace.

Newer courses on ergonomics have now shifted their focus on making the at-home workspace more conducive, because the goal of ergonomics is to tailor the workspace to the employee. When you create or purchase an online course addressing this topic you can expect simple language, quick solutions, and a self-help, how-to approach.

Error is pervasive. The unexpected is pervasive... What is not pervasive are well-developed skills to detect and contain these errors at their early stages. ~ Karl E. Weick

Employers, supervisors, employees—everyone knows and understands the importance of preparedness. In the area of health and safety, preparedness comes from developing the skills to detect and contain errors in their early stages rather than letting the matter escalate. Online courses on health and safety can help develop these skills in multiple ways.

  • Online courses have the potential to provide more and/or in-depth information by providing access to online resources, that would otherwise be a disruption to the learning environment in a classroom setting. Imagine sitting in a training where the facilitator keeps telling you to “check it out online.” Your first thought might be to question why you’re attending the training in-person if you’re meant to look everything up online.

Online courses can be cleverly designed to provide the right information, in the right amount, at the right junction.

  • Online courses minimize the possibility of human error. Any training material, before it goes live, goes through multiple rounds of review and validation. In comparison, a significant portion of facilitated trainings rely on the facilitator’s familiarity with the material and the subject matter. If a facilitator is well-versed in one aspect but lacking in the other, it can lead to sub-par learning. If even one learner walks away with incorrect or insufficient knowledge due to facilitator error, they can cause significant health and safety risks in the workplace.
  • At the same time, one could argue that a facilitator brings real-world knowledge to the classroom and there is a lot of value in that. Undeniably, that’s true. However, if you engage with a learning development partner to create a course, the learning partner will request a representative from your organization who can serve as the subject matter expert. This expert can provide relevant content, taken from real-world experiences, to create a health and safety course that is perfectly tailored to the environment of your employees. Partnership and communication between the third-party and your company will be key if you plan to engage a professional learning development team to build and deliver the training.
  • There is another key benefit to accessing online courses on health and safety—time. A classroom session can get derailed by learner questions, longer activity times, or off-topic conversations. Online courses, by comparison, allow the learner to manage their time while consuming and digesting the content at their own pace. Does this mean that your learner cannot ask questions or clarify any doubts? Absolutely not. If you choose to build an “ask a question” feature into your courses, you will be able to respond to your employees in a structured manner. Moreover, the fact that these questions are digitally tracked and recorded means that you can integrate commonly asked questions into your core course content and make it richer.

In essence, digital learning is a creative way to deliver learning that is innovative yet uncompromising in its quality.

If you take anything away, let it be this—yes, you can do a health and safety course online through Vubiz’s vast array of courses. You can choose courses that speak to regulatory matters that govern your country or state or province, or you could choose one that speaks to your employees topically. You can take a sneak peek at them by accessing our online store at https://vubiz.com/home/health-safety.

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