Despite obvious cost savings, many managers are on the fence about whether to transition their safety courses and employee training online. Reductions in class costs, instructor’s time, and physical resources can open additional resources for essential components of your safety program, like equipment and staff.
What many don’t realize, though, is that there are more reasons than just price to enhance safety programs with online delivery. An easy way see why is to go out into the field and compare a work crew with online safety course records to crews working without them. Take a look at a work week in a typical Alberta work camp and see the many ways that online safety certification and records tracking save time and money:
A big oil company is currently hiring pipefitters for a high-paying job at a remote location in northern Alberta. Several work crews in town have applied for the job, but one crew, a small four man startup, has realized at the last minute that they are missing some very specific safety training in order to be allowed access to the job. Their manager is old school and although the company could easily afford the theory training through online courses, classroom training is simply too expensive and inconvenient to set up on such a short time frame. The crew passes and hiring continues for other crews that can afford the expense through online training.
Workers reach the job site. Quick money and hard work are what’s on the table, but pipe fitting is dangerous work and everyone is on edge.
A few hours pass and a young worker comes across a safety label he hasn’t encountered before. He knows he’s seen the label before, but can’t remember what it means. He was trained in an informal classroom session with no evaluation components. His company wanted men in the field as soon as possible and that attitude trickled down to work crews around the office.
The young worker begins soldering and a jet of gas escapes the high-pressure pipe he’s working on. Severely burned, he’s heading home and the only thing on everyone’s mind now, are steep fines.
After a lengthy debriefing and somber night, work crews are back on site. The day is progressing normally when several foremen’s cell phones go off. Some have received notification from their online safety course providers about a new compliancy requirement being put in place by Occupational Health & Safety. One foreman overhears his coworkers talking and swears aloud. He and his crew will be heading home immediately to recertify for compliance. Still he’s thankful for the heads up, knowing that other crews may not have even received warning.
The foremen whose outfits have signed up for online safety course delivery will be recertifying in a few hours after the shift is over, using their mobile devices to access an updated training session. With online course delivery, compliance can be maintained anywhere with an Internet connection.
With a few crews down, the remaining pipe fitters rub their hands with glee. The job will now take twice as long and mean overtime for everyone. Crews split up and head out onto the cut-line just as an unexpected surprise rolls up at the field office—an OHS Inspector has come to make a surprise inspection.
Crews that have mobile access to their compliance documents present proof of training and get back to work, but one crew is having a problem. Several workers, including the foreman, were so used to the routine of fieldwork that their compliance documents sit safely at home, on their desks. The inspector dishes out a second round of fines, and the non-compliant crew is taken off the job.
Last day of work and everyone is winding down. The crew that left on day 3 are back after recertifying their training in Athabasca and they’re ready to make some money. Although the job took longer than expected, everyone made a bundle thanks to the crews that had to leave. The day wraps up uneventfully and everyone has a good payday.
But the workday isn’t over for everybody. While the crews with online safety systems head to the local pub, the crew that rushed through compliancy back in town still has paperwork to do. Everyone made it on site with compliancy documents, but they still have to be copied, filed and properly stored for the next job. Maybe they’ll catch up to their co-workers on Saturday.