- February 2013
- Posted By Ross
- 0 Comments
Providing your employees with high quality health and safety training is a crucial element of ensuring their safety in the workplace. Not only is it a legal requirement but raising their awareness of potential dangers and ensuring they understand their own responsibilities is key to creating a workplace that is safe for employees and customers. Health & safety courses are available online and as classroom-based modules: as an employer you will need to decide which route is more suitable taking into consideration the exact needs of your employees and the subject matter of the course in which you wish them to participate.
Location and Availability of Training Courses
Online courses have the distinct advantage of being available anywhere at any time of day. This is particularly useful if there are no suitable training programmes in your area, if you do not wish to disrupt the schedule of your business or if you wish to spread the training over a longer period of time rather than engaging in a one day intensive course, for example. However, you may need to consider how disciplined your employees are to complete online training on a more ad hoc basis (see Individual Learning Styles, below).
Cost of Training
For any business the cost of training individuals or groups of employees can be burdensome. Where there is a legal duty to provide training in an area such as health and safety, it may be necessary to consider the cost implications as not participating is simply a non-option. Online courses tend to offer more competitive prices as the training provider’s overheads are lower which, combined with the flexibility this approach offers, may be a solution from which your business would benefit.
Individual Learning Styles
For some employees attending a health and safety course may be the first time in a long time that they have completed any sort of learning. Online training requires dedication, commitment and discipline so it is important that you are confident your colleagues will fully engage with this approach. Some people prefer the personal nature of classroom-based training where a skilled educator can respond to the needs of his audience and where questions can be asked to facilitate understanding. Discussing your employees’ needs and preferences could help them to make the most of the training that they undertake.
Purpose of Training
Bear in mind, also, what it is you hope your colleagues will gain from the experience. Is the training simply a theoretical refresher course which builds upon their previous training? If so, an online course may be appropriate. If the training is an induction where the employee’s knowledge is sketchy, or where a significant practical element is required (such as First Aid), then a classroom-based course might offer a more effective quality of training.
Quality of Training
Ensuring that your colleagues will actually benefit from the training and that is a cost-effective way to addressing your legal responsibilities is clearly important. Many trainers would advocate the advantages of the classroom approach, although research suggests that there is little difference in terms of attainment rates between online and offline courses. With many online providers offering health and safety courses you need to be confident that the training will adequately meet the needs of your colleagues. Question the credentials of any online course that you feel would need a higher level of personal interaction than can be offered through distance learning.
In summary both classroom-based health and safety courses and online training have their merits; often the suitability of the programme of learning is more dependent upon the subject matter being studied. While some training courses require a focused hands-on approach, others can be completed either as online courses or in the classroom. For example, risk assessment training, which is largely theoretical in nature, can be completed online or through distance learning whereas IPAF training into the safe use of mobile elevated platforms would be unsuitable for online delivery due to the practical nature of the work. Take into account your colleagues’ precise training needs, their learning styles and the schedule of your business and you will be able to identify an appropriate method of learning in which to participate.