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Online Health and Safety Training and its Benefits

Online Health and Safety Training and its Benefits

Online Health and Safety training offers a strong return on investment for employers and a quick way to get employees up to date with workplace safety. Online courses are also tailored to specific areas of workplace safety. They can ensure employees are getting the exact information they need to do their job safely. In this article, we take a closer look at the benefits of online training for workplace safety.

 

The Importance of Online Training for Workplace Safety

Studies show online education is growing by 5-10% each year as more and more employers move their training methods online. According to the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) there was a sharp increase in the use of education portals/websites during COVID-19 with over one fifth (21%) Communicating with instructors or students using educational websites/portals, an increase of seven percentage points in 2019. These numbers remain high even after the COVID-19 pandemic. With the rise of digital technology in all areas of our lives this trend is far from declining.

Online Health and Safety training is a convenient way for staff to learn about their safety in the workplace. It removes many constraints which often hinder classroom training. This type of training is also very specific. It usually focuses on the precise lessons needed to stay safe in the workplace. From food handling and fire safety to workplace stress and working at heights, such online courses are always relevant to the workplace and ensure employers are abiding by certain laws and regulations.

Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits of online training.

 

7 Key Benefits of Online Training for Workplace Safety

1. Online Training Draws from High Quality Resources

Online training usually draws inspiration from the best interactive experiences online and incorporate these learnings into an online course. As a result, online training can sometimes include video conferencing or webinars and other opportunities which enable staff to engage remotely. Simply put, this consistent high quality and extent of resources is rarely guaranteed in the classroom.

2. Learning Practical Skills for Real World Experience

Employees develop soft skills through online training and practical lessons which they can put into practice at work. These lessons often come from real experience which can feel more relevant than the theory which you might hear about in a classroom. Online courses also use simulations, scenarios and multiple choice questions to ensure these lessons are always relevant to real world scenarios. This also highlights the objective of online training – to give employee the exact education they need to know to do their job safely.

3. Employees Often Retain More through Online Training

Research shows how many employees are likely to forget what they learn in the classroom. It makes sense when you think back to school days and just how little algebra or poetry you might remember! Memory retention is boosted by relevant experiences which can be applied straight away. With this in mind, online training is often split into areas of knowledge and structured to increase relevancy. This increased relevancy means employees will more likely learn and recall the contents of an online course than they might in a classroom.

4. Online Courses Can Be Scheduled for Any Time/Place

Standard classroom training is always set at a specific time but co-ordinating this time is near impossible in such a fast-moving world. There is also a time loss for going to and from a classroom. Many employees are likely to feel restricted in a classroom environment. Online training can take place at any time and enables employees to undergo the training at their own pace. It’s a win-win situation for both employers and employees. In addition, it also removes the requirement for having a classroom to facilitate the training.

5. Immediate Access to Support and Resources

Online training provides immediate access to a large number of resources which allows them to find answers at the time of learning. Classroom training takes place in a specific location where employees are most often unable to access training resources in real time. This means employees don’t need to wait until the next class to ask questions and can address any immediate challenges or concerns before moving on with the training. Online training can use forums or social media groups to provide extra support and provide employees with a place whether they can share tips or ask questions.

6. Online Training is Designed for Different Learning Preferences

Every audience consists of different people with varying abilities and backgrounds. However, more recent generations have become accustomed to smart technology and the online world. These employees are also likely to have acquired skills through Google, YouTube and apps in the past and appreciate this method of learning. This is why the rate of attention and engagement with online training is often said to be higher than a classroom. Online training is designed to cater to all learning preferences.

7. High Levels of Engagement and Responsibility

Some online training courses are gamified which means they feature levels, rewards and certain mechanics which encourage progress. These courses seek to encourage the learner to progress and keep going until they complete each lesson. They can also monitor performance along the way and feel more invested or responsible for participating in the course. It is this high engagement which should be attractive to employers and the fact they can outsource this time consuming process to a trusted online training platform.

 

Working with a training company

Working with an online training platform can help employers lighten the load and allow the experts to take care of the training. However, it’s important to choose a platform which abides by laws and regulations and incorporates these requirements into the online training. For instance, MyElearnSafety offer courses online health and safety training for Food Safety which adhere to the principles of the internationally recognised Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). It also offers Fire Safety Awareness, Manual Handling Awareness, Paediatric First Aid just to name a few.

Check out MyElearnSafety today and we can get everyone up to speed on their workplace safety!

Fire Safety and Why is it Important

Research suggests that most fires are preventable and unsafe human behaviour is most often the cause of these fires. This is why employees should be encouraged to take responsibility and adopt practices which help prevent fire in the workplace. Fire safety is also enforced and employers are required to prepare plans and procedures to protect against the associated risks. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is proactive in monitoring how employers manage these risks and what they do to protect the health and safety of the public.

In this article, we provide some general information about fire safety and the practices which help protect against the potential damage caused by fire.

 

What is Fire Safety?

Fire safety is a set of measures which reduce the potential damage caused by fire. There are four common fire safety principles which are recognised around the world:

 

However, there are three key actions which employees should know about that need to be taken in the event of a fire:

 

Let’s take a look at the key elements which enable a fire to start and spread.

 

The 3 Key Elements which Enable Fires Start and Spread

Heat, fuel and oxygen complete the fire prevention triangle which explains how fires can start and spread. Fire needs all three of these elements to thrive and this is why removing one of these three can prevent a fire. This is also why a risk assessment needs to report on three different elements and consider how these elements might contribute to potential fire hazards in the workplace.

 

Heat

Heat is often generated through machines, systems and processes. Cooking is an obvious example in which heat is near constant and needs to be kept away from fuel. Let’s look at some examples of how employers can manage heat:

 

Oxygen

Oxygen is often used in manufacturing and creative processes. For example, oxygen gas is used for food packaging and food preservation. It is also used in flame cutting and welding and within decompression chambers as part of medical treatment. Pure oxygen can react fiercely with materials including rubber and textiles and then also the likes of grease and oil. In short, the presence of this oxygen makes it easier for a fire to start and grow and spread.

 

Fuel

Some workplaces will have more flammable materials than others and these environments can present a much greater fire hazard. Fuel essentially contains flammable material which burns naturally in a standard atmosphere. These flammable materials need to be clearly labelled. In addition, great care should be taken when handling or moving these flammable materials.

 

Establishing Fire Safety Principles in the Workplace

The Health and Safety Authority in Ireland enforces an act which holds employers responsible for educating staff about these principles. Employees must therefore know these practices and be able to put them into practice in the event of a fire. There is also a requirement for employers to appoint a competent person to this role who properly understands the risks, practices and tasks that relate to fire safety.

“Competent” implies this person must be able to demonstrate their knowledge and ability but this appointment does not mean the responsibility of fire safety is out of the hands of the employer. Employers must do everything reasonably possible to ensure their staff are not exposed to the risks associated with fire safety. For instance, employers must also ensure there is safe access, emergency exits and no unsafe substances or articles in the environment.

In case you might be asking yourself, action is taken whenever deemed necessary and government statistics show the number of fire safety notices issued by the Health and Safety Authority in Ireland. Safety notices can be costly for employers but they also point to a moral concern which suggests the business is simply not doing enough to protect the safety of employees and members of the public.

 

Employers Responsibility for Fire Safety in the Workplace

According to the Health and Safety Authority in Ireland, employers must not only train and educate employees about fire safety but also carry out regular risk assessments to ensure these measures are understood. This involves checking that all staff have sufficient knowledge, training and supervision to protect against the dangers of fire and then record the findings from this assessment in a Safety Statement. Employers are therefore required to provide relevant fire safety courses for their employees and produce certificates of completion in the event of an inspection by the authorities.

 

Final Thoughts

Fire safety is extremely important and an area which employers cannot ignore for both moral and legal reasons. Fire poses a serious threat to the safety of employees and members of the public and the Health and Safety Authority will issue notices to any business that falls short of the requirements. Employers should make every effort to abide by the law and assess risks and provide access to training which informs on the importance of fire safety.

 

Please Note – The Fire Services Act 1981-2003 specifies that it shall be the duty of every persons having control of premises (i.e. owner or occupier) to ensure the safety of persons on the premises in the event of an outbreak of fire whether such an outbreak has occurred or not.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Fire Safety Awareness courses. The eLearn fire safety awareness course is designed to help employers meet their legal requirement to provide information and training to staff regarding specific hazards. Fire safety is an essential part of any safety management system. The course, along with regular fire drills, will help ensure regulatory compliance.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie

Health and Safety Implications of Having Dogs in the Workplace

Dogs in the workplace

Until recently, bringing your four-legged, furry pal to work was unheard of. For the most part, it still is. However, some employers are exploring the benefits of allowing employees to bring their dogs in the workplace. For dog lovers, it’s a dream come true. For those who dislike dogs, it’s a nuisance. And, for employers concerned with health and safety in the workplace, allowing dogs at work represents a massive grey area and a bit of a safety conundrum. For those of you reading this at work, with Oscar at your feet, don’t worry! There are ways to make sure that having dogs at work doesn’t negatively impact health and safety.

The Benefits of Having Dogs in the Workplace

The impact on morale of having a cute dog in the workplace is usually quite noticeable. It is said to decrease stress. As well, dogs have a positive impact on employee interactions and socialisation. They create a common ground on which important connections can be built. Allowing workers to bring dogs to work can even increase productivity!

The Impact of Having Dogs at Work on Health and Safety

Some employers are exploring allowing employees to bring dogs to work as a way to strengthen their image, increase retention, and reduce stress. However, among employers who do not allow dogs at work, health and safety concerns were the most oft-cited reason. Below are some common health and safety concerns regarding having dogs in the workplace:

1. Distractions

While dogs are known to improve social interactions, they may instigate too many conversations, distracting workers from the task at hand. Employees may wander around to visit the dogs, spend too much time playing or engaging with them, or take multiple breaks to take their own or a co-worker’s dog outside.

2. Sanitation Concerns

Dogs can be hairy, and most breeds shed. That means a lot of hair around the office. Dogs are also prone to fleas and various canine illnesses, which may be transmitted to workers. And of course, the big one: while the majority of dogs are well-trained to do their business where and when appropriate, accidents do happen. In the event of an accidental misuse of the office rug, a biohazard would be created and have to be dealt with properly.

3. Allergies and Phobias

Who doesn’t love to share the office space with a co-worker’s beloved black lab? Anyone with an allergy or a phobia, that’s who. Some people have allergies so severe, that even having the dog in another department that shares airflow can be problematic. As well, dog phobias need to be recognized and respected. Anyone with a severe phobia who has to deal with a dog at work is at risk for psychosocial hazards.

4. Slip, Trip, and Fall and Bite Hazards

All dogs are not created equal. Some are big, some are small, and some fall in-between. What they share is that when they’re lying at your feet, or in a high-traffic area, they become trip hazards. Trips and falls can cause serious injuries, and the dog may even be injured. Another serious hazard to humans to consider is biting. Even the best temperamental animal may bite if he feels threatened. A lot of people crowding around a dog that is not used to it may cause the dog to act out in ways that are not typical, including biting. Bites can be very serious because of both the trauma inflicted and the bacteria from the dog’s mouth that gets transferred to the wound.

5. Property Damage

Most dogs are very good boys! But sometimes, even good boys get into mischief. Unfortunately, it could result in property damage. Chewing, toileting, digging, clawing, or sometimes even excessive hair to clean up, are all taxing on the physical facility, and have the potential to cause damage. Repairs may be costly, and cleaning staff may add a surcharge for additional clean-up as required.

6. Liabilities

If your workplace serves the public, allowing dogs in the workplace opens the employer to many liabilities, especially if a dog injures a customer.

 

Every Dog Has its Day

If you want to explore the benefits of allowing employees to bring dogs to work, it is definitely possible to do so safely. Before making any major decisions, consider the nature of your workplace and whether it is appropriate for an animal. From there, consider a policy for bringing dogs to work that includes the following elements:

Whatever you decide, having it written in a policy is a great way of ensuring that all of your employees dogs and employees on in agreement and happy in their work environment.

If you want to know more about risk assessment or safety training at work, Contact us by phone +353 1 278 1938 or email shane@elearn.ie or take one of our Online Safety Courses,  enrol today and do it at your own pace.

HSA marks 200,000 participants in Choose Safety young people at work programme

Choose Safety

The Health and Safety Authority today (05/09/18) celebrated 200,000 plus learners over ten years of its flagship programme Choose Safety. This is aimed at post-primary senior cycle students and students in further education. Choose Safety aims to prepare young people with skills for the world of work through educating them about safety, health and welfare.

More than 28,000 students participated in the Choose Safety programme. These are from;

A total of 647 institutions were involved last year and that included 63% of post-primary schools nationwide. Within further education, the programme is taught to growing numbers of students on plc courses. Courses at Levels 4 and 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Within Youthreach, and the National Learning Network.

Core Concern

Speaking at a seminar to mark the occasion was Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, Dr. Sharon McGuinness. She said that the success of the programme comes from the wide recognition that safety, health and welfare is a core concern within employment. Young people need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities around safety, health and welfare at work.

Dr. McGuinness said;

“Young people, as new recruits, are at a higher risk of workplace injury than their more experienced colleagues. Their lack of experience, combined with being new to the world of work can leave them exposed and vulnerable to workplace accidents and injuries.  They need a good common sense grounding in what it means to look after themselves and those around them in the workplace. The Choose Safety programme supports young people to develop a ‘safety first mind-set’ before they reach the workplace. This also makes a lot of sense for employers who are responsible for managing workplace safety and health and recruiting these young people.”

Free of charge

Choose Safety consists of safety, health and welfare programme texts for teachers and students. These are supplied, free of charge to schools/further education settings.  It includes a free elearning course ‘Get Safe – Work Safe’ which can be found at https://hsalearning.ie. The programme is coordinated locally by the 21 fulltime Education Centres, and is rolled out from Kilkenny Education Centre. Certificates of completion can be awarded as well as online digital badges for any units completed.

Margaret Maxwell, Director of Kilkenny Education Centre said;

“Choose Safety gives students the opportunity to explore core principles of health and safety as it applies in their current or future work experience or workplaces. These are essential life skills for young people and the Education Centre network is committed to promoting this most valuable programme in schools.  Choose Safety is designed to assist teachers in delivering key senior cycle skills such as good communication, critical thinking, working with others and being personally effective.

Schools/FE centres wishing to participate in the Choose Safety programme should contact their local education centre. Or the HSA at: educationunit@hsa.ie or Kilkenny Education Centre at honorah@eckilkenny.ie or 056- 056-7760202.