10 Reasons You’re Probably Wrong About Online Safety Training: Part 1
From experience, we understand that there’s a lot of misinformation about online training and its value as a progressive tool for modern safety programs. While it is true that Online Safety training isn’t the perfect fit for every organization, this is your opportunity to understand the benefits and limitations of training your people online, identify the potential for your organization, and draw your own conclusions.
Let’s separate fact from fiction for some of the most commonly expressed doubts, okay?
Myth #1: But online training is much less effective, right?
Wrong. Now, there’s no dispute that live, hands-on, interactive instruction is the best way to train the workforce.
The problem is that most safety professionals don’t have time to do that with each employee—it simply isn’t efficient. So many companies train workers in classroom spaces, in groups, with boring old PowerPoints and DVDs. And that isn’t effective.
Online compliance training puts workers in control of the training experience, and holds them accountable with testing. With HSI, workers get a more engaging experience and learn critical concepts in 20 minutes or less. HSI courses are interactive, use short films, animations, and real scenarios, so the content is relevant to the job. This training experience is powerful because it promotes engagement, the key to knowledge retention—workers remember the training because they are active participants.
Safety training online diversifies the compliance training experience, which helps make a positive impact on day-to-day worker safety. The courses are also shorter because they are designed to concentrate learning objectives, meaning the courses teach basic safety concepts faster, making training easier to remember. Time and time again, it’s been shown to improve safety outcomes, by enhancing retention and the amount of training information that employees are able to recall.
We’ve trained hundreds of thousands of American workers, and collected feedback on our Online Safety Training course library. Our survey responses tell us that workers not only prefer online safety training, they enjoy it.
Myth #2: Won’t we lose the personal touch of live training?
No. If anything, online training allows you to put more energy into live training.
Our typical customer has a training program that is heavily reliant on live training, but is looking to make the safety program more efficient. In fact, one of the things that we hear from customers is that after moving compliance training online, they may spend more time delivering critical live training. That’s because online training returns time to safety professionals, allowing them to intensify on-the-job training efforts or focus on hazard-specific training.
So, it’s not a matter of replacing live training. Online training affords the safety professional more time in the day to work one-on-one with employees and in group settings, and to undertake important safety initiatives, taking the focus away from compliance activities.
When you move compliance training online, you realize an opportunity to affect change at a personal level, rather than being stuck at a desk wondering who has or hasn’t taken compliance training, or tracking curriculum updates, etc.
Myth #3: Isn’t it difficult to make the switch to online safety training?
No. Gone are the days of complex implementation. In fact, most our customers begin training in under 7 business days.
We realize that safety professionals have no desire to become online training administration experts. So with our model, we handle all of the implementation and early administration to ensure our customers are up and running smoothly. It used to be that both parties had to work through a multi-tab spreadsheet which required assistance from somebody with a PhD in Excel to successfully complete—that’s not the case anymore.
If you can do your taxes or order a movie from Netflix, you can get through the online training implementation phase, as long as you are partnered with the right organization.
The most important thing is that your implementation structure needs to fit with how you, as a safety professional, want to operate on a day-to-day basis.
Myth #4 – But my system works for me!
Does it? If you could bring efficiency to your safety program, saving time and money, and realize a significant ROI through productivity gains, you’d do it, right?
The other thing to consider is risk. Safety has quantifiable value for business and the absence of safe working conditions can create significant additional costs. Online safety training is a tool for controlling the various costs associated with unsafe working conditions
For example, there are fixed, direct costs related to worker safety. Worker compensation insurance premiums rise with accidents (to cover lost wages, medical expenses, and rehabilitation costs). There are penalties for workplace injuries and legal costs associated with liability, etc.
What a lot of people miss about the true value of worker safety is that there are substantial secondary costs associated with it. Out of production time or lost productivity is the most commonly cited indirect cost of systemic safety failure. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 there were over 1 million cases of non-fatal occupational events requiring days away from work, with a median average absence of 9 days. The safety of the high-risk workforce has a substantial cost associated with it; serious worker injuries and fatalities are far more expensive than any online safety training investment.
Another way to look at it; focusing only on compliance, or doing only the minimum, leaves a lot of liability in your environment or considerable risk, and risk means potential cost. The safety professional, in partnership with leadership, can minimize liability and risk by investing in the safety culture. Let’s say that your company culture is simply resistant to change, or extraordinarily risk averse, okay? Perhaps upper management favors the status quo, or perhaps a sizable organizational bureaucracy make progressive change difficult—if it isn’t broke don’t fix it, right?
One of the ways we partner with new customers here at HSI is from day one, even before implementation, we define with customers the best way to present an online safety training solution to leadership. Sometimes this involves phased implementation, a step-by-step approach that brings along according to comfort level, or flexible agreements, etc.
We will work with you to take a status quo safety program to the next level.
Myth #5 – We have another vendor.
How many times has your primary point of contact within that organization changed?
You can find the continuaiton of this post in Part 2.