Every company will have different training and development needs for all of their employees, but one type of training that the majority of workplaces will all have in common is health and safety training. While it may be quite extensive for some workplaces, depending on how hazardous a particular job role might be, for others it may be more basic such as knowing what to do if there is a fire, or the building needs to be evacuated. Either way it's a very important part of your training commitment, and something all your employees will have to go through.

While there may be some elements of health and safety training which are more practical, it may be worthwhile considering what parts of it can be completed via eLearning instead. Taking a blended approach to your company's safety training will mean you can book in a practical training session for your employees when needed, but use online training to complete the rest of the required training throughout the year.

We take a look at some of the reasons why completing at least part of your health and safety training online could be a good move for your company.

Easier to Schedule

Fire

eLearning can be much easier to have your staff complete as they are able to do it in their own time, whenever is convenient for them, instead of having to schedule a day when everyone can take time away from the office, or at least their desk, to attend a classroom training course. This can be especially important if you have a lot of health and safety training to complete within your company. Depending on your work environment, you may have several different topics to cover, such as fire safety, food safety, manual handling, or working from a height. Finding the time to book in numerous training sessions could prove difficult, and also mean your staff are away from the office for long periods of time, which may affect the amount of work they are able to get done.

If employees are able to complete a large amount of their learning online instead, it means they are able to work it around their already existing schedule, but still complete it as needed. It may be worth setting a deadline to make sure everyone in the company has completed their required training by a certain date, but offering this level of flexibility means people with a heavy workload, or even upcoming holidays, shouldn't feel pressured about the amount of training they have to complete, and they won't have to worry about missing any either.

This may be particularly true if you manage the staff training for a very large company, as there may be certain training everyone needs to attend, such as fire safety, and the logistics of getting everyone in a classroom at the one time may prove too difficult to manage. However, if you can provide the training as eLearning instead, it should prove much less disruptive, and will let everyone in the company complete it when they have the time.

Information Overload

First Aid Kit

Health and safety training is extremely important, as it teaches employees things they need to know to be able to carry out their job effectively, making sure they keep themselves and those around them safe. One issue that can be solved with eLearning is the risk of information overload. As classroom training will go through an entire topic or unit in one session, it can sometimes be quite overwhelming for the employees to learn everything they need to in one go. However, eLearning can help tackle this problem as it can be done in smaller chunks, and split over the day, or even a few days. This means a student can stop when they feel themselves becoming overwhelmed with the amount of information they have to take on, or even just give themselves a little extra time to digest something quite complex before they move on to the next part of the training.

Stay up to Date

Fire Alarm

Health and safety training is so important you want to make sure you are always providing to most current version of the training there is, so your staff are fully up to speed. While obviously instructor lead training should always be up to date, there are some cases where this may not always be true, such as training videos you may screen internally.

Depending on the type of health and safety training you are delivering, one common method of presentation can be gathering your staff together and getting them to watch a video. This is usually the case when information needs to be demonstrated, but perhaps it's hard to show in real life without putting someone in danger, or without showing your staff in a specific location. Examples of this are things like how to lift correctly, or forklift safety, where the scenes played out in the video are either staged by actors, or perhaps shown through animation so that no real people are involved. While showing videos can also be a huge part of eLearning, there are benefits to doing this sort of training online instead of with a physical DVD.

The main thing is updating the content, which can prove tricky and costly if you have to replace DVDs whenever the training you are providing is updated, not to mention having to go to the trouble of possibly ordering multiple copies of the new content, and then waiting for them to arrive. If your eLearning content needs updated, it should be done automatically, so your staff always have access to the most up to date version. This will also be a lot easier for you to manage and you won't have to worry about providing out of date training.

This also means all your staff can watch training videos at their desk, and again whenever it suits them, so you don't have to worry about trying to find a place and a time to screen a video to the entire company in one go.

Making the Move

Safety Awakenings have put together this handy infographic on how safety training is being delivered in the digital age.

online safety training infographic

After surveying 400 training professionals they found that just over half (53%) have made the move to eLearning for their health and safety training in 2015. While eLearning may look in the lead according to these figures, it's also clear that there is a lot of work to do to make eLearning to go-to choice for health and safety training. The main reason listed as to why people haven't made the move is they just prefer instructor lead training. This may be why it's best to look at a blended approach to health and safety training, so you can make sure you employees are still getting the classroom time they need. This is particularly useful for more practical sessions as it will give them the chance to have a shot of doing what they have just learned, and also spend some time with the teacher to ask questions and make sure they are doing everything correctly.

Conclusion

It's always best to pick a learning method that works best for your company and your employees, so you may not want to, or even be able to, move away from classroom based health and safety training completely. However, it may be worthwhile to look at areas where you could make the move, as some health and safety topics may actually work better when taught online, while others will need to remain in the classroom.