Online Health & Safety Staff Training

This article is contributed by Paul Donnelly.

Many of those in charge of a workforce, office or any kind of workplace where people gather often for a prolonged period of time will understand and appreciate the necessity for thorough health and safety training.

safety sign

It can cover a range of topics including common sense in the use of machinery which some will not have come across previously. To ensure the comfort and well-being of staff and customers or clients who visit the premises, this is a key component of any legitimate company or organisation set of procedures.

The Cost of Not Having Health and Safety Procedures

The cost of working without such procedures can be high. As well as showing a lack of proper etiquette and possibly undermining your organisation if an accident does occur, it can leave those involved or one person in particular open to litigation that can tie the involved parties up for years. It can be a major financial burden as well as a mental and emotional burden too. Additionally, when someone is injured and is unable to work, the stress and anxiety of how they will get by can prompt them to seek legal action even if they aren’t a particularly litigious person normally.

How Can H&S Procedures Be Implemented?

Clearly it is important ot have such procedures. Usually this can be done through a simple tutorial on an employee’s first day.  This can be supplemented with occasional seminars with a trained professional every year who visits the workplace and advises on the best policies as well as going through various demonstrations. Sometimes this can be handled by a HR representative if time allows. Since HR services are often being cut back by the use of computer systems within companies, this is not always possible.   This is why online training is often used for H&S in the workplace.

Why Should Health and Safety Be Digital?

Many organisations are now finding that health and safety training can be made available through digital or online sources. Many functions in the office are conducted digitally already, such as  backing up files and sharing information, so it makes sense that this area should be no different. Online sources can offer an interactive experience that can be repeated and completed at the pace of the particular individual.  This avoids the need of hiring an individual from outside the company who may not fully understand how things are done in this company. Paying for an outsider to come in is a much less effective solution.

Common Perceptions of Health & Safety Training Consultants

When workplaces set up these conference room-sessions, they often tend to have a stigma attached to them that they are a bit of a laugh or waste of time for everyone involved. Because they are not working per se, employees may see it as an opportunity for larking about or may find that it is going over things excessively that they already know about.  Sometimes this is welcomed by employees who want to make the day go quicker but for managers who have to ensure that deadlines are met and work completed, taking your workforce away from work should only be done for very productive reasons. When work forces are cut, it makes it even harder to justify taking employees away from their work to sit through such presentations.

The Speaker

The other criticism of some training is the quality of the speaker. Sometimes, the brought in speaker is not to everyone’s tastes, whether in the way they teach, their tone or personality. When the speaker is an outsider and has to deliver a lot of sometimes tedious information, they try to come up with “fun” ways to do so which aren’t interpreted as such by their audience.

david brent

An example of the worst kind of scenario can be seen in the attempts of David Brent in the TV programme, The Office, who becomes a cartoonish figure of ridicule for trying too hard to communicate information which he is directed to do from above. This is the other reason that many don’t take a speaker seriously; since they know they are all being directed to do this by someone else higher in the hierarchy.

With a digital course for training, you remove the overly-personable speaker and people are more likely to stay focused when directed by something on screen that seems to be talking to them rather than at them. Of course it’s impossible to find someone that everyone in a given group will be satisfied with but with online training success is more likely.. It is also a more interactive and, dare I say, fun experience to go through the training online.


Additionally, many tend to roll their eyes at the resources that a speaker will use, such as outdated overhead projector sheets, or very cheesy videos (on VHS) featuring bad actors that are laughable because they are so visibly outdated.  In some cases these videos are used for a variety of different contexts or sectors so they are either very broad or general in what they speak on, or are too specific and much of what they say doesn’t apply. With online training, at least there is a sense that this is contemporary and relevant to where that workspace is in the 21st century.

Author Bio: Paul Donnelly is a health and safety consultant who works with small businesses to eliminate risks in the workplace by promoting health and safety training. In his spare time Paul enjoys mountain biking.

Photo credit: Courtesy of GCPLearning via photo pin cc

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2 thoughts on “Online Health & Safety Staff Training”

  1. I get where you are coming from with the arguement that H&R can be done online, but surely there are several facets of it that need to be implimented in the work place?

    For example, risk assessments and sound testing.

    P.s Love the picture of David Brent.

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