Employees are invaluable assets of your organization. Ensuring their safety and health will reap multiple benefits for your company in return. This improves productivity and reduces workers absenteeism. Workers who are aware of safety guidelines avoid accidents and influence other employees to be compliant. These positive changes uphold the safety culture at the workplace.
The “Prevention is better than cure” principle is applicable to workplace safety too. Companies who are serious about safety guidelines, procedures and policies, will avoid whopping penalties and legal troubles. So, is there a way to simplify workplace safety training to avoid accidents, mishaps, and minimize financial & productivity losses? Now companies turn to online learning for meeting their growing safety training needs as it’s flexible and cost-effective.
When you think of online safety training, the question ‘how to build an effective online course for workplace health and safety?’ will come to your mind. This issue is addressed in this blog.
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have given clear guidelines to design, develop, and deliver workplace health and safety training. We have come up with five best practices to design and develop online safety training based on those guidelines.
1. Identify Safety Training Needs
To build an effective online health and safety training, first, you have to understand the safety needs of your workers. Examining workers based on the given criteria helps you identify their safety needs:
- Workers’ prior knowledge of safety norms
- Level of workers’ education; white-collared or blue-collared employees
- Learning preferences, e.g.: formal approach or an informal way such as game-based learning
2. Set Learning Objectives
To build effective online safety training, you have to set clear, precise, measurable and actionable learning objectives. These are the learning outcomes workers can achieve due to the online safety courses. For example, after the completion of this safety course, workers will be able to:
- Use a fire extinguisher without any doubts
- Handle Personal Protection Equipments (PPE) with ease
Learning objectives are helpful in finalizing the content of online safety courses.
3. Design Online Safety Training
To design online safety courses as per the ASSE/ANSI standards, you have to:
- Collect the required learning material and resources
- Come up with a lesson plan
- Create safety learning content
i. Collect the Required Learning Material
Gather all the resources needed to design the safety course such as brochures, pamphlets on safety norms, safety act documents from government regulatory bodies, media clippings of real accident cases, and more. Taking inputs from senior managers and employees’ individual experiences adds value to your online safety training. They can also reflect on workers’ expectations on the new safety course.
ii. Come Up with a Lesson Plan
Once the required learning materials are in place, go for a lesson plan of the course. It should include:
- Review of the familiar/known information
- Information required to meet the learning objectives
- Strategies to present the learning content
- Assessment approaches to be added
iii. Create Safety Learning Content
You can design the content of the e-learning course based on the lesson plan or outline; include these elements in the course:
- Ice-breakers to set the context for learning
- Safety procedure demonstrations
- Exercises and activities to practice safety procedures
- Scenarios and case-studies to show the consequences of violating safety norms
- Risk maps to find out potential threats at the workplace
- Flashcards of dos and don’ts for each activity
You can also provide a list of FAQs and make it available online in a printable format.
4. Deliver Online Safety Courses
In delivering the eLearning course for effective transfer of health and safety knowledge and skills, you have to focus on two important aspects.
i. Highlight the Importance of Safety Training
Creating awareness of the need for safety training is crucial for the effective delivery of online courses. Putting posters in lift lobbies, cafeteria, stairwells, and in conference rooms will help highlight the importance of safety training to your employees. Involving top management and launching internal email campaigns also motivate workers to go through the online safety courses.
ii. Tell How it Benefits Employees
Workers often feel that their organization is conducting safety training to meet the statutory requirement. To overcome this, make it clear that safety is for the employees’ wellbeing and not just an organizational requirement. Showing specific examples of how employees benefit from online safety training will help dispel the misconception.
Considering the above two aspects will clear the way to delivering online health and safety courses via a Learning Management System (LMS). This set up helps you to record, report, and track all safety training activities for both regulatory authorities and employees. Certificates issued on an LMS after course completion on safety are valid to submit to regulatory bodies as evidence of completing safety training.
5. Evaluate the Effectiveness
Evaluate the effectiveness of the online course on health and safety at two levels:
i. By Knowing the Reactions of Workers
Know learners’ perceptions about the delivered online safety courses by giving them a questionnaire, survey, or a poll.
ii. By Evaluating Learners’ knowledge
Measure the improvement in the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of workers after taking the online safety course. Conduct a pre-test and a post-test to see a clear difference. Check knowledge retention by conducting quizzes after 90 to 180 days of the courses’ completion
Evaluating the impact of online safety courses on workplace safety after some time based the number of incidents reported will give better results.
Suitable online training on health and safety helps in avoiding accidents at the workplace. Implement these five best practices to build effective eLearning courses on safety for measurable results.