In the realm of health and safety, easier doesn’t necessarily mean better. This especially applies to health and safety training, so it’s no surprise that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently updated its best practice guidance. The new guidance increases the emphasis on face to face for training situations that require specific tasks or individual-based content.
With the growth of the internet, there was tremendous growth in online courses to help businesses with their limited training budgets. Online health and safety training has its appeal; it is cost-effective, it reduces disruption during the working day and it is easy to deliver. No matter how good the online training may be, it is inevitably generic, therefore the use of online should be risk assessment driven.
Training should be about risk reduction. It needs to provide increased knowledge, competence and result in employees having a greater desire to work safely.
So how do you know when online training is suitable or when face-to-face training is required to meet your duty of care as an employer?
A good example is manual handling training.
For office-based manual handling, such as lifting reams of copy paper, online training is perfectly suitable. For more complex manual handling situations, training needs to be specially tailored. Face-to-face delivery, with practical demonstrations and staff interactions, is the only way you can ensure that you’re meeting your duty of care, by ensuring the best learning outcomes and risk reduction is achieved.
While online training is convenient, it cannot be specific to every individual business, or job role. Every building has its own idiosyncrasies, and every business has its own unique way of working. Face-to-face training is personal, meaning it offers its own unique set of benefits.
Here are 8 reasons why face-to-face training benefits businesses in a way that online training can’t.
- Face-to-face training is tailored specifically to your needs – your activities, equipment and your personnel. Referring back to the manual handling scenario, your businesses will have a wide range of items that require handling, so risk reduction is achieved as the training is far more practical.
- Face-to-face training is delivered personally and can take into account different levels of understanding within a workforce. Again, this helps to ensure the best learning outcomes from training, as employees are able to ask questions to fill in the gaps in their knowledge.
- With face-to-face training, the working environment is familiar to the workforce. It links to each employee’s ability to work more safely as they immediately see the impact of the training, helping them achieve risk reduction and fulfil their duty of care.
- Other staff in the building see the training taking place and so take on board the importance the business is putting on health and safety matters. This shows your employees that you take your duty of care seriously as an employer and that their health and safety is important.
- Prioritising health and safety by investing time and money into having onsite training creates a health and safety culture by flagging it as a priority.
- On-site trainers can work with the business to ensure policies remain up to date, achieving long term risk reduction.
- Training helps generate momentum for continual improvement and long term success by creating a domino effect. By fulfilling your duty of care and achieving risk reduction and the best learning outcomes through training, staff have the ability to make continual improvements.
- Face to face training which happens onsite is still cost effective, as less time is spent in transporting employees to and from an off-site venue, meaning that less work time is lost and productivity is less impacted.
An estimated 137 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the United Kingdom in 2016, according to a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This was equivalent to 4.3 days per worker, the lowest recorded rate since the series began in 1993, when the number was 7.2 days per worker.
But this is still an average of nearly a week for every member of your staff you will lose due to them being unfit for work. That will not be something you may have budgeted for at the beginning of the year!
At Park City, we deliver both online and face to face training. Years of experience enables us to know when online training does not deliver the best outcomes in terms of learning outcome, risk reduction and meeting an employer’s duty of care. We have the professional resources to deliver all our HR and H&S services face to face. We work this way because it is more powerful and provides a higher quality of outcomes.
Unlike toolkit, DIY Portal-based services, Park City Consultants save you valuable time. Who wants to waste time downloading that letter, populate it with all the relevant names and information, then print and send it? Better just to call and get us to do it!
If you’re looking to train a single member of staff or the whole team we can help. Explore our health & safety training and book a course today.