Ensuring a clean and hazard-free environment in which the members of your organisation can go about their daily affairs doesn’t just make good operational and business sense; it’s the law.
In most structured societies, there are official guidelines governing the conditions which need to be met in public and corporate premises to guarantee health and safety. And eLearning can be a very effective medium in communicating these requirements to the stakeholders who need to know them.
Meeting Your Obligations
In most jurisdictions, there are legal frameworks set up to ensure the health and safety conditions of places where people gather – often in the form of strict standards or sets of rules. Companies and the owners of public gathering spaces are required by law to meet all the conditions of these standards, or face penalties that may include fines or even prison terms.
So its vital that the management and staff of any organisation – and its full membership, if it draws from the general public – understand their roles and responsibilities under whatever Health and Safety regulations operate in their area.
Advantages of eLearning for Health and Safety Training
Regulatory compliance regimes are notoriously complex, with numerous conditions that have to be met before an organisation is judged to have met all its legal obligations. And there are usually mandatory audit procedures, involving periodic checks by accredited third parties to make sure that all compliance issues continue to be met.
Knowing all of the conditions required and how to comply with them requires training, and it also helps to have a record of all the relevant materials relating to the compliance regime, and of what’s being done within an organisation, with respect to them.
With an eLearning approach:
- A training platform can be set up with courses laying out the compliance guidelines and statutory requirements with multimedia support.
- Training modules may be flexibly scheduled and delivered to suit the working practices of each organisation.
- A central administration console may provide Web-based access to online testing platforms, to gauge the learners understanding of the course materials and their level of compliance.
- In-course monitoring can be used to highlight potential problem areas in a learner’s journey through the course.
- A permanent archive of all training data can be kept, to assist in preparing audit trails for compliance testing.
- The issuing of certificates to successful trainees, and the sending out of email reminders for refresher courses or impending changes to the audit regime may be done automatically.
- Reference materials for managers and course facilitators (e.g. as regarding Risk Assessments) may be stored and disseminated through the learning platform.
Consulting the Experts
Owing to the complexity and specific nature of Health and Safety regimes, training courses in this area are offered as services by several third-party providers of eLearning materials. Most are strictly commercial, but some are offered by the Health and Safety administrations of several jurisdictions, or by reputable organisations within the health, safety, medical, and emergency services industries.
Courses may be pre-packaged, or the provider may give clients the option of customising an existing package to suit the specific needs of their organisation. This route is often suitable for smaller enterprises, which may lack the funding and in-house expertise to develop their own training materials.
If you’re looking to a third party for Health and Safety training, they should at least meet the following criteria:
- They should provide full support during the installation of the learning system, and training in its operations.
- Access to their technical support should be available via phone or email, in a timely and efficient manner.
- If it’s a cloud service, they may offer the training package in a Software as a Service (SaaS) form, and take responsibility for the hardware and software infrastructure.
- They should provide regular updates to the learning platform and its support systems.
- Updates to training courses should also be made available automatically, in line with changes to the compliance regime.
Designing it Yourself
If you’re designing a Health and Safety training course internally, or giving specifications to a developer for a customised or custom-made eLearning platform, there are several aspects that you should keep in mind.
Basic design considerations for eLearning still apply: the course content should be presented in an engaging, interactive way that holds the interest of your learners, and gives them an incentive to complete the training.
Modules should be short, but comprehensive, with each one covering a specific topic. There should be some kind of testing to gauge your learners’ progress, with a dashboard for the trainee that indicates how they’re doing, and what they need to do next.
There should be a dashboard for the course manager / administrator, with an overview of each learner. This should be integrated with the administrative console from which course alerts, email notifications, and other materials may be distributed.
The course content and reference materials need to be fully in accordance with the Health and Safety compliance regime that applies in your jurisdiction. Topics covered may include:
- General health and safety issues
- Accident prevention measures
- Stress and Noise levels
- Fire safety
- Food safety
- The handling of hazardous materials
- Risk Assessment
- Accident investigation
Periodic refresher courses and / or retraining need to be part of any Health and Safety compliance policy.
As new techniques and materials come to light, their impact on health, safety, and the environment may bring changes to the existing legislation. Compliance standards may alter, as a result.
So it’s important to stay informed about the Health and Safety landscape in your industry, and any changes to audit and compliance requirements that occur. These in turn will require updates to your training programme, and the issuing of alerts or notifications to the members of your organisation.