Do you know how much US organizations spent in the year 2012 on workers compensation due to workplace injuries and illnesses? According to the Liberty Mutual Work Place Safety Index, it is sixty billion dollars.
The top ten causes for these injuries in the US corporate organizations were:
(Source: 2014 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index)
What are the reasons for these causes?
Routine tasks may dilute employees’ attention towards potential hazards. For example, driving a car on the same road every day may reduce our attention towards ditches or pits, which may appear due to rain or construction works. Also, driving at late night, our attention towards impending danger decreases.
Similarly at the work place, routine tasks, prolonged working hours, and shift-based jobs reduce the mental alertness of your employees, towards the potential hazards at the work place. This becomes the major reason for most of the work place injuries.
Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that by implementing effective health and safety systems, organizations can significantly reduce such workplace injuries and the cost associated with them.
How to Train Your Employees on Safety Training?
Training programs should not be designed merely to fulfill some mandatory requirements for local government authorities, or applicable laws of the state. They need to be planned according to the needs of the organization, keeping in mind the occupational health and safety of its employees.
An effective safety training program should ensure that there are fewer injuries, no damage to property or equipment, fewer legal liabilities, reduced instances of illnesses among the employees, fewer compensation claims, and so on. Hence, organizations should put in place a training program that each and every employee should undergo, as soon as he/she joins an organization.
Should you Train through Classroom or E-learning or Blended Learning?
If you are training your employees on safety for the first time, many argue that classroom training is very effective. I agree with them because no mode of training delivery can beat classroom training. But what if you have a global work force and require mandatory training completion certificates? What if you need to conduct refresher trainings on safety as per OSHA guidelines?
In this context, I am the core supporter of online learning. I don’t accept all courses subjects are ideal candidates for online learning. But what I believe is, classroom scores best when your training requires skill building. However, many organizations plan their training in such a way that online training complements classroom training. That is, they try online modules for the content whose objective is to create awareness and classroom to develop skills.
When we come to safety training, most of the courses’ objective is to create awareness among employees and sensitize them about the various hazards at work. E-learning would best suffice this need. For some types of safety training, if you consider they should be taught in a classroom mode, you can have a classroom session for the first timers and refresher trainings through online mode. Another advantage of online learning mode is the generation of automated learning reports by LMS (these are accepted by the most of the regulatory authorities).
Online training can be delivered either through mobiles or desktops. But due the rapid proliferation of mobile devices, many organizations are looking towards mobiles.
Why Mobile Learning for Safety Training?
The major advantage of m-learning is the ability to access knowledge, just when you need it most. As a result, learners get to apply the knowledge gained immediately. Knowledge used immediately is retained for a longer period of time, thereby making training more effective.
We have developed an mLearning course whose objective was to reduce workplace injuries caused due to improper lifting of weights. When the shop floor assistant has access to this short module on Safe Lifting Practices, he can quickly open the video and take note of the precautions, before actually lifting heavy equipment. With the course being under 5 minutes, it is not difficult for learners to take some time out of their schedule, for quick knowledge or refresher. An individual is more likely to have his phone, than say a safety manual, around him and it is this aspect that certainly makes mobile learning more practical. People are more likely to make use of these resources, particularly when it comes to their own safety.
How to develop safety training courses for mobile devices?
One of our customers, a leading medical equipment manufacturer, identified a need of familiarizing their employees with the safety measures followed at their workplace. To meet this need, they recognized that the best solution would be to provide online training, to their employees worldwide. To take this one step further and provide a better solution, we recommended mLearning as it is more accessible and adaptable.
We came out with a strategy where content will be presented as instructive information, using animations that contain line diagrams and a minimal amount of text. Safety measures that are ‘ought to know’ are clearly depicted through a series of line graphics in the course.
Measures are categorized into 4 different levels of safety along with the associated diseases when not followed.
However, these levels must be followed by everyone who works with hazardous materials in the workplace.
Level 1 talks about basic precautions when interacting with someone who has a certain illness.
Level 2 talks about the mild symptoms.
Level 3 talks about the safety measures for being safe from severe or fatal diseases.
Level 4 talks about the safety measures to be followed for preventing severe illness or death.
The training material also included some dos and don’ts of safe lifting to prevent back injuries among the employees.
This is a sample knowledge transfer, given to the learners through this training. Likewise, we can deliver ‘n’ number of bit-sized learning modules, to users who are globally scattered,. thus giving them a chance of accessing the information, irrespective of their location and time.
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