Remote workplaces require remote solutions, but what about when your field comes with hazards that need to be addressed? Whether you’re in warehousing or construction, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration expects some level of safety training for your employees.
For companies that cater to contractors or have offices in different locations, this training often can’t be conducted in-person. That’s why implementing a viable and efficient online safety training program is an essential HR move for businesses that can’t take a centralized, in-person approach.
Take a poll among your employees about the hazards they feel most impacted by and the training tactics they find most effective, be it visual aids, demonstrations, short videos, or lectures. This allows you to amass a general opinion and take everyone’s preferences into account.
Most importantly, getting an idea of the various hazards that impact different subsections of your employees helps you prioritize the types of training programs you institute first.
Create a cloud-based handbook
Develop an online accessible handbook for your employees to reference whenever they need to. You can use handbook creation software to prepare it or simply create it in Google Drive. Make sure to make an interactive table of contents that jumps readers to the section they need.
A cloud-based handbook allows all employees to access it at all times, without any risk of it ever getting lost. Having your safety policies written out is essential for liability and accountability. Furthermore, it allows your employees to easily reference those regulations on-the-job.
Take time for webinars
Webinars and online training sessions are the meat and potatoes of this process. You’ll want to find an OSHA-certified, trustworthy safety trainer with experience in the manual labor industry to conduct this. You can find plenty of companies that offer these services and have a full catalog of training topics.
Use web meeting software like Zoom to create an online classroom atmosphere where the instructor can teach the course remotely and there is a chatroom for your employees to ask questions.
You’ll want to institute online refresher courses as well for when regulations change or new hazards are introduced.
Develop online tests & quizzes
Simply trusting your employees have absorbed all the knowledge they need from the online training course may feel like enough, but it’s important to conduct an assessment. Create online quizzes and tests for each hazard that measure your employees’ understanding of the proper protocol in each situation.
If you sign on with an online safety training company, they may have an interface of their own for this. For your own purposes though, you can use a program like ClassMarker.
The great thing about conducting your safety training online is it makes it easier for employees to deliver feedback. Get a sense about if they felt the hazards were adequately covered, if the instructor’s training style was conducive to e-learning, and if they want more supplemental materials, like PowerPoints, charts, or infographics to aid their learning.
More importantly, make sure to segment the training for supervisors and workers. Both will need knowledge of the various hazards and proper protocols, but supervisors should be prepared to answer any in-person follow-up questions from their employees, so their training may need to be more extensive in many ways.
If you can also develop a system (like a remote clock-in/clock-out) that logs the number of hours each employee is putting into their training and how they divvy their screen time, you can ensure nobody is abusing the system. Careful HR monitoring of this process, especially in its early stages, is critical.
Online training can be convenient, but comes with an accountability learning curve. Make sure to heavily vet the procedures you implement and use various software to keep track of employee progress.