How many of you are finding that there is no time left in your day to deliver your safety induction training? It’s not surprising, because COVID-19 is severely overloading safety professionals.
There are the continually changing social or physical distancing requirements, and that means new procedures and working arrangements, because we may introduce new risks when we change the way we work. Safety professionals have had to develop a Response Plan to the pandemic quickly, and now they need a Recovery Plan as we start to go back to work. And the new information needs to feed into your safety induction training.
Also, travel restrictions have meant that many safety professionals are working from home or are tied to their desks. With safety managers time stretched to breaking point, COVID-19 may be diverting resources away from ‘business as usual’ safety activities such as safety induction training. The lack of focus concerns safety managers because of the looming risk faced by deteriorating risk controls over time.
Anything that is not COVID-19 related is likely to be placed on the back burner, and that may mean you have little time to train your safety induction as well as you should. A further challenge is safety induction refresher training that many organisations working in high-risk industries require as mandatory every year. As COVID-19 sucks time and resources, safety training is starting to slip.
See our article, Four COVID-19 Challenges for Safety Managers.
In this article, we look at some research that investigates moving your safety induction training online. The study uses mining as a test case. It discusses adult learning and technology to reveal the barriers that impede workers’ learning and the benefits of moving your safety induction training online.
The Importance of Safety Induction Training
Mining is a dynamic and constantly changing industry that is often at the forefront of technology. Mining employees, contractors, and those that service the industry, are expected to possess a range of critical skills across several safety procedures. Application of their knowledge is essential to keeping themselves and others safe. An engaging, informative, well-designed safety induction can successfully prepare workers before they undertake hazardous working environments.
Many organisations are turning to online learning as a mechanism to deliver consistent training that is available 24/7, and it’s generally highly cost-effective.
For safety induction training to be meaningful, it needs to address specific issues that employees will encounter in their work environment. The content should include task-specific and current hazards, rather than generic risks.
See our article, How to Create a Safety Induction That Trains and Meets Compliance.
What Are the Barriers to Online Learning?
Online learning requires familiarity and a positive response to using technology. Fortunately, most people are comfortable using some level of technology because many have, and use, a smartphone and online streaming services such as Netflix. Thankfully, as time passes, our use and understanding of technology are increasing. The beauty of online learning is its self-paced nature that allows the learner to complete the training at a speed that they are comfortable. However, not all learners are comfortable with computers, and additional support will be needed to help them with online training.
For workers who are comfortable with, and used to being trained in a classroom environment, many see online training as difficult. Mainly because of the absence of a trainer to assist with any questions. And some workers prefer a passive training delivery method; however, keeping user engagement levels high is difficult. Minds wander, workers disengage, and training loses its effect.
Access to computers and other technology to complete online training is another barrier. Most online training programmes require an uninterrupted internet connection, and workers on remote sites may not have adequate service support.
It is not uncommon to see safety induction training delivered online. However, the quality of the content and the level of engagement of the learner varies considerably. Some online safety induction training is a text-based manual placed online with multiple-choice questions. Others are a regurgitation of multiple PowerPoint slides that are text-heavy and poorly designed. In these instances, there is no accommodation for workers with poor literacy or where English is not their primary language. Delivering training in this way is ineffective and does not encourage transfer or application of the knowledge into practice.
See our article, Can MicroLearning Improve Safety Training?
Moving Your Safety Induction Training Online
Although there are barriers to online learning, training your safety induction using technology makes good financial sense. You save time, money and gain consistency in the messaging. Most importantly, you can create an engaging and immersive experience that has been shown to improve knowledge retention.
There are several options to moving your safety induction training online. You can use online platforms that provide templates for you to create your content and assessments. These software platforms are generally inexpensive; however, they require a considerable amount of your time to develop the content, and you need to be mindful of the quality of the materials that you upload.
Then there’s the other end of the spectrum which is using VR and AR technology to provide a fully immersive experience. Generally, the training content is engaging and interactive; however, these platforms are expensive to create content, require facilitation to use the hardware and dedicated training spaces.
Then there’s Tap into Safety. We can build your safety induction training for you to use online, on tablets or incorporate into your classroom learning. We use our simple modularised template where we plug in our out of the box courses from our library, or we build fully customised content for you. Also, you can have numerous versions of your Online Safety Induction to cover General Employees, Visitors, Contractors or Site, Area or Role-Specific requirements.
We use an engaging training method that includes 360-degree panoramic scenes, animated micro-learning, videos, audio and subtitles, reduced text, and robust assessment on controls and critical controls. Our training has the end-user in mind the whole time, and we support workers with low-literacy or English as a secondary language. We save you time and money, and there is no need to facilitate the learning.
Why not visit our website and take a look at some of the training courses we offer that you can use in your safety induction training or contact us about developing custom-built content? You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the low cost.
Organisations that perform high-risk tasks must deliver safety induction training before any new employees start work. However, COVID-19 is placing safety professionals under considerable strain when they need to provide the training personally. One way to reduce the time and associated costs are to move your safety induction training online. In doing so, you not only save time and money, but you also guarantee learning consistency.
The barriers to online training include a need for workers to be familiar with technology, for you to consider the quality of the online learning materials and adult-learning principles and access to computer hardware and internet services.
The world is changing, and so is the way we will train in the future. If you move your safety induction training online, you can focus on all the other areas you can influence to improve the safety performance of your employees and your organisation.