Safety training is of paramount importance to all businesses, but it’s not without its challenges on numerous fronts. Some companies struggle with the entire implementation of the training process including the setup, scheduling of time, course content, ensuring employee attendance, and more.
Training challenges in businesses are also felt by employees, to the extent that 70% of employees say they would likely leave their current employment for a company that invests in employee development and learning.
The benefits of safety training should not be underestimated. Consider that 62% of employees may not know what to do in an emergency situation at work. Implemented correctly, this type of training not only strengthens employee risk management, but it also decreases company insurance claims, workplace compensation, and on the job injuries.
Companies generally want to train their people. The real issue that businesses face is determining how to deliver their training program well.
One of the fastest growing training delivery platforms available is video, and in particular, video on demand. This involves a company making a library of training videos available that covers all subject matter required by employees to do their jobs better and safer. The importance of this to companies is immense.
Accessible and available
In a safety training environment on demand videos are highly versatile, easy to use, always accessible, and they hold the attention of the viewer. They can easily be deployed in a variety of locations at the same time and can be viewed by many people at once. Video provides a standardized way of delivering safety training content that is practical and best explained through a series of visual steps.
As a medium, video helps to focus attention, which improves how information is remembered and this is very advantageous when undergoing safety-related training. Researchers have found strong evidence that information presented in the form of video, has better retention in long-term memory.
When video is available in an on-demand environment it gives employees a greater control of their safety training environment. For example, an employee that is struggling with part of their training can replay any aspect of the video as many times as needed, without embarrassment, until they understand the relevant section.
The barriers to entry for setting up an on-demand video training environment are also very low. A company can produce its own safety videos using nothing more than a smart phone, a good presenter, and easy to understand content.
While high production value can be important, especially when conveying processes or procedures which cannot be easily represented naturally, they are not necessary to produce compelling educational content.
Companies can also update any of their safety training videos without having to utilize a large budget or undergo a long waiting period for the next training session.
Employees derive value
A significant advantage to video-based education is how the information demonstrated translates into being understood by employees and made practical for implementation. For example, compare a detailed written description of how to safely use a particular piece of equipment, with a well-constructed video-based representation. Despite the written explanation containing a well-formulated description, almost all people will learn easier from the video with greater retention, particularly in on demand video environment.
Why is this? In part, it may be due to the role our visual systems play in memory. The human visual system is the largest occupant of the brain, with the cortical structures requiring a third of the skull’s real estate. Furthermore, the combination of video with audio overlay can be highly effective. Research conducted at the University of San Diego demonstrated this effect in a compelling way. They had separate groups of students engage with different forms of media and then tested their ability to recall details. Students who read content had roughly similar retention rates when tested three hours later, compared to those students who watched a video on the same subject. However, when students were tested three days later, retention rates had dropped substantially for the reading group, whereas the video group had not significantly decreased. This illustrates the value of using video-based instruction, namely that video instruction is recalled with higher accuracy over a period of time.
Minimal employee risk
Another advantage that on demand video offers is that can take the employee to places where it would otherwise be impractical to set up a specific training event. For example, employees responsible for dealing with warehouse fires can view a video of how to tackle a large repository fire, without their being an actual fire. Alternatively, if they have travelled offsite, they can watch videos on demand to refresh their memory and hone their skills for onsite work.
Skills building before work
A principal selling point of a video training environment in an industrial manufacturing setting is that employees can undergo significant training before they commence work. This is very useful where the employee will be working with hazardous chemicals or large complex industrial machines that require specialized training. This means that education can be provided to students before they are exposed to circumstances that involve elevated risks.
While not all safety videos will address such risky subject matter, being able to quickly obtain reliable and specific information on demand before undertaking a safety-related job may prevent injury.
The value that on-demand video safety training offers companies and employees is immense. It facilitates effective risk and compliance management and allows companies to ensure that their safety training environment is always available. Employees are empowered to play an active part in their safety training and can determine when to watch the videos needed to maintain their skill levels.