Business and individual training needs, developing competence, meeting legal requirements, worker availability, course flexibility, location, cost, work pressures and demands. These are many of the things that may spring to mind when thinking about introducing and delivering health and safety training.
As online training is now widely available and being increasingly used the purpose of this blog is to outline some of the advantages of online training for employers when deciding on the most appropriate means of training their workforce.
Requirements for Health and Safety Training
Firstly let’s look at why we need training in the first place. Most people will appreciate that in order to achieve good standards of health and safety performance in the workplace a key element of this is training.
Training in general and specific hazard areas, tasks, or activities, which are undertaken as part of the business premises and work is vital to ensure suitable information, instruction and training is provided.
After all if people don’t know about hazards and control measures, how can they be expected to understand them and know what to do to keep themselves and others safe during their work.
Not only does the need for training make great business sense generally, but there have also been some key legal rulings and requirements introduced surrounding the provision of information and training by employers.
Wilsons and Clyde Coal Co. Ltd v English 1938 was an early health and safety case where the common law duties of care which an employer has towards their employees were identified in general terms. The House of Lords ruled that the employer’s common law duty of care included a safe system of work and the provision of competent staff.
How do we achieve competent staff? Largely through the provision of suitable instruction and training.
Fast forward nearly 40 years to the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 (HASWA). HASWA placed legal obligations upon employers under Section 2 of the Act, to provide information, instruction, training, and supervision to ensure so far as reasonably practicable health and safety of employees at work.
This legal requirement has been expanded further within the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to ensure employees are capable and trained, and to ensure they receive adequate health and safety training.
Beyond this, virtually all health and safety laws passed generally contain the element of competence and training in some way shape or form, so suitable training is essential in complying with the law and towards ensuring health and safety.
What Are the Advantages of Online Training for Employers
There is a wide range of areas of health and safety where online training is appropriate and offers a wide range of benefits to the employer.
After selecting a suitable course from reputable providers and approved by industry bodies, which meet the training needs of the business and individuals, there are a number of benefits online training can bring.
Firstly there is a great deal of flexibility to online training courses, where courses can be undertaken individually by employees rather than training in larger groups.
This potentially lessens the impact of absences of large numbers of workers to attend a classroom based course, which can often be harder to facilitate and arrange, and naturally lead to impact on productivity during the times of the training course due to the absence of larger groups of workers. Online training also gives organisations potentially more flexibility to release individual workers for training.
Another area is cost, often a big factor in choice of training. Whilst employers are legally bound to provide suitable time and resources for health and safety training, cost is still a consideration with regards to the various training options.
Not only is there potentially greater cost of training absences of larger numbers of the workforce, but as classroom based training often requires various equipment, facilities, and the attendance of a trainer, these can all add to the overheads of the training provider, which ultimately is included within the cost of the course itself. So online training courses, with the same required content, can have very little overhead and be very cost effective to achieve the same ends.
Online training can also be undertaken at suitable locations in the workplace or elsewhere such as from home, needing only a device and an internet connection. This potentially prevents the need for workers going off site to training venues which also increases the time and cost of the training.
Use During the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic
As we are currently in the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering online training has become even more popular as it can help to reduce the associated risks.
Risk control methods which are now common include an increase in working from home, staff working patterns being altered to include particular bubbles/team working to offer greater protection to the individuals, but also to help the organisation contingency plan and continue to function in the wake of workplace outbreak, and also the reduction in use of meetings in person in favour of online virtual meetings, to name just a few.
So in a time where businesses are adopting these means to control risk, and businesses and workers are adapting to technological advances, online training delivery is an extremely worthwhile option on many fronts for businesses.
In summary, health and safety training is a fundamental legal requirement which is essential to developing competent employees and contributing to ensuring health and safety in the workplace.
The current climate during the Coronavirus pandemic has required workers to adapt and develop new technological skills, but has also imposed restrictions on the way training is delivered, so online training is an excellent alternative method for delivery of certain training courses, and employers should seriously consider the use of online training when looking at their training needs.
Wurkplace can assist your business with various aspects of health and safety management including training, and have a wide range of online training courses available which are suitably approved. Wurkplace have competent employees with professional experience and relevant health and safety expertise to support your business with any training requirements you may have.
If you would like to find out more about our outsourced health and safety services, then get in touch with us – you can contact us by post, phone, email, or social media.