How to Pitch Online Safety Training Programs To Your Boss

Pitching online safety training to your bossReady to pitch online safety training to your boss at work, but not quite sure how to frame your argument?

In this article, we’ve got the information you need to make a convincing case.

Once you’ve got the OK from the boss(es), you can then begin searching for and evaluating the online safety and health training solutions that work best for your company. And we’re going to create some materials shortly to help you with that process.

But that’s the next step. For now, let’s get started on arguments for pitching online safety training to the boss. You have to get the OK first, right?

Use the comments section at the bottom if you’ve got any questions or if you’ve got some ideas of your own about this. And notice that we’ve included a free download at the bottom of this article that explains in detail 10 real benefits that 10 real customers of ours experienced after adding online training to their existing safety training solutions. You’ll be surprised at some of the things they reported.

 

Pitching Online Safety Training to The Boss: The Points to Make

Use the following points to help get the bosses to give some money for online training solution. Your company will wind up creating a safer, healthier workplace while also saving money in multiple ways.

The Value of Safety and Safety Training

Safety and safety training are both inherently valuable to a company and the company’s employees.

We hope this goes without saying, but it’s worth repeating here. General workplace safety efforts, including workplace safety training, are “the right thing to do.” They lead to:

  • Safe workplaces
  • Reduced rates of work-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses

But that’s not it. Yes, safety and safety training are the right thing to do. And yes, they do lead to reduced incident, injury, and illness rates. But they also lead to a positive financial return-on-investment (ROI) as well.

Check OSHA’s Safety Pays website for supporting data on this.

The Accountability, Responsibility, and Tracking Capabilities of Online Safety Training

One of the key benefits of online safety training is that online safety training systems make it easier to:

  • Make employees aware of their own safety training responsibilities
  • Keep managers and supervisors aware of their employees’ safety training responsibilities
  • Determine which employees have completed required safety training and which have not
  • Store records related to safety training completion
  • Generate records in print form during audits by safety regulatory agencies such as OSHA and MSHA
  • Keep track of safety training that must be completed recurrently and therefor expires

These things can be done effectively using traditional “offline” systems, including combinations of paper-based training records, manila envelopes in metal filing cabinets, Excel spreadsheets, Access databases, postings on company bulletin boards, and a whole lot of tracking employees down and talking to them about safety training responsibilities. But that can all be replaced by automated online systems that take nearly all the work out of this.

Standardized Safety Training

A common problem in workplaces is when workers “go rogue.” Meaning, not all workers follow a common set of safe work practices and standard operating procedures.

There are a few reasons why this can happen. But one is that the workers in your company may receive different safety information depending on which safety training session they attended, or which trainer led their safety training session.

Online safety training helps to take care of that problem. Every employee hears and sees the exact same safety message. That’s true even if they work in different facilities, different work areas, on different shifts, and/or for different managers.

When all employees are getting the same message during safety training, it’s easier to get all employees following the same safe work procedures in the field.

Plus, if there IS a change to a safety policy, it’s easy to change the online safety training material one time, deliver it to all workers, and run a quick report to confirm that all workers completed the safety training with the newly changed information in it.

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More Effective Safety Training

If you partner with an online safety training provider, you’ll almost certainly wind up with safety training that’s more effective.

That’s true if you buy off-the-shelf online safety training or if you have them create custom safety training for you. (Our suggestion: consider both.)

Let’s quickly review some reasons why.

Better instructional design

Instructional design is the professional field that specializes in how people learn and how to create training materials to most effectively help them learn.

If you’re a safety professional, you probably didn’t get there by studying instructional design. You studied safety, which makes sense.

And so it’s also likely that you’re not an expert in how to create engaging, effective safety training materials that lead to a safer, healthier workplace. Which is OK.

You’re an expert at your job–safety. So let training providers who employ instructional designers (not to mention safety experts, graphic designers, computer programmers, technical writers, editors, and others) make do what they do best for you and your company.

More engaging

One of the keys to effective training of any type, including effective safety training, is that it actively engages the workers. They like it. They are interested by it. It challenges them.

Engaging safety training is more effective safety training. It is the kind of safety training that employees understand, learn from, and remember. It’s the kind of safety training that changes behaviors on the job. It’s the kind of safety training that creates safer workplaces.

Adding well-designed online safety training to your safety training program will make your entire safety training program more engaging.

Practice questions/feedback

Take a moment and think of a typical classroom-style safety training course at work.

If you’ve got a good trainer, the trainer will ask lots of questions and create a two-way communication. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll have a good trainer, but let’s ignore that for now.

But even if there’s a good strong two-way communication going on during classroom-style safety training session, the odds are good that not all employees are participating. Instead, it’s probably a smaller number of employees. And the others are probably just passively listening. If they’re paying attention at all. Which is also not guaranteed.

That’s great for that small number of employees who are actively participating. But it isn’t all that great for those employees sitting on the sidelines.

With online safety training, each employee is responsible for completing training on his or her own. And that includes completing a series of practice questions or interactive exercises embedded within each course. These questions give the employee the chance to reflect upon their own understanding of the topic. This reflection is an important aspect of learning. The employees also get feedback based on their answers or decisions, providing another helpful learning opportunity and the potential for correction that would have been missed had the employee merely sat quietly during instructor-led training.

In short, practice is a great way to learn.

Testing and assessments

This point relates to the previous point about practice questions.

In addition to those practice questions, most online safety training courses have some form of formal assessment or test. This test gives safety managers a way to confirm that employees understanding the training materials. If an employee fails a test, they can review the materials in the course and then take and hopefully pass the test again.

Online safety training systems will allow you to see:

  • Which employees passed and failed a given test, including their scores
  • Which questions within a test a given employee answered correctly or incorrectly
  • Which incorrect answer a given employee selected if they did get a question wrong
  • How long it took an employee to complete a test
  • How long it took an employee to answer each question
  • More

Greater breadth and specificity of safety training materials

If you’re creating all of your own safety training materials, there’s going to be a limit to what you can do.

You won’t be able to create safety training on every safety topic, from A to Z, that applies to your workplace. There’s just not enough time. Your safety training program is likely to lack the breadth it really needs.

And because time’s limited, the training materials you DO make may at times tend to be superficial and not cover all necessary safety issues. Your safety training program is likely to lack the specificity it needs.

Online safety training providers have large teams of experts creating training materials. They’ve been doing it for years. They do it eight hours a day, every day they’re at work. Why not take advantage of all that work to get safety training materials that matches the breadth and specificity you need?

More specific training assignments

People sometimes default to “one size fits all” safety training assignments, especially when they’re busy. This means some employees will be expected to complete safety training that’s not relevant to the job tasks they perform.

That’s a waste of time and money, obviously. It’s also a morale-killer for employees. And it doesn’t help you get employee buy-in for your safety and safety training efforts.

Online safety training systems make it easy to create specific training assignments for workers:

  • At different sites
  • In different work areas
  • With different job titles
  • Who perform different job tasks

These online safety training systems also can be used to automatically change safety training assignments for workers when they move to a different site or work area, when they move to a different job role, or when they take on new and different job tasks. As you probably already know, it’s very hard to keep track of all these things on your own.

The who will have access to safety training that’s relevant and important to them, and won’t have to complete training that’s of no use to them, will thank you.

More comprehensive training

Having a broader, deeper library of safety training materials to use, and having tools that allow you to assign safety training more strategically, will make your safety training program more comprehensive.

You’ll fill in the gaps and begin training more workers on more safety topics with more specificity.

Easier to customize training

You’ll also find it’s easier to customize your training assignments specifically to meet the needs of each employee. Need training on “safety topic X?” It’s in the library. Need it only for employees in the “safety training group X?” You can make that assignment. Need them to complete that safety training every six months? No problem, that can be automated.

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Increased Safety Training Delivery Options

Online safety training increases the number of ways you can get safety training and safety information to workers. Here are some examples.

Mobile compatibility

Most workers have mobile phones and/or tablets, such as the iPad or Surface. Plus it’s easy enough for a company to provide these to workers.

This means workers can complete the online part of their safety training assignments on mobile devices.

Having mobile access to safety training makes it easier for an employee to complete safety training when it fits into his or her work schedule. Employees love the additional freedom and flexibility. Which means they’re more likely to actually complete their safety training.

On-the-job access for instant performance support

Workers can also use mobile devices and that mobile access to view safety information, including safe work procedures, standard operating procedures, job hazard analyses, and other safety materials in the field while working on the job.

What’s better than giving employees instant access to critical safety information they need to safely perform a task on the job at the moment they need it?

Remote workers, workers at home, multiple shifts, multiple sites

Online safety training is also a great way to get safety training to those workers who have always been difficult to “reach” before. This includes employees who work:

  • Out of their homes
  • At a remote work site
  • At multiple sites
  • On different shifts

Training these workers has traditionally included lots of additional expenses for travel, lodging, and even overtime. Online safety training removes these costs, hassles, logistic challenges, and inefficiencies.

Refresher training

It’s also easier to deliver (and keep track of) refresher safety training using an online system.

It’s easier to schedule because it takes only a few mouse clicks. It’s easier to notify employees and supervisors because the system will email the employee and put a notification they see when they log in. It’s easier to deliver because you don’t have to select an instructor, reserve a room, and get the materials. And you don’t have to worry about finding a time that works for everyone, because your workers can take the refresher safety training at a time that fits into their schedule.

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Reduced Safety Training Costs

We mentioned above that safety training pays for itself in many ways. And that means the investment in safety training is a good one.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good thing to save money on safety training. You can use those savings for more safety training, or for other parts of your safety program. Or just cut the costs of running safety at work while improving your safety record.

We’ll give some specific examples of how online safety training can reduce the costs of your safety training program below. You can also check our 10 Case Studies of how our own customers benefited from online safety training.

Training creation

At first thought, online safety training may seem expensive. You’ve got to pay someone for it after all, right? Isn’t it cheaper to just make your own?

But not so fast, safety friend. Even if you are making your own safety training at work, that doesn’t come free. Let’s look at some direct and indirect costs that are easy to forget but add up in a hurry.

Direct costs of creating your own safety training materials:

  • Cost of safety manager/personnel who creates the training
  • Cost of subject matter experts (SMEs) at your workplace, such as an engineer, who creates training
  • Cost of any software applications or materials used to create the training

Indirect costs of creating your own safety training materials:

  • The cost of going without what the safety manager and/or other safety personnel could have been doing instead of making safety training
  • The cost of going without what the subject matter experts (SMEs) could have been doing instead of making safety training

Training delivery

In many cases, you can deliver training that’s equally effective in a face-to-face setting or with online training.

If it’s face-to-face training, such as training that occurs in a classroom or out in the field, you’ve got to pay the instructor(s) for that time. And so that becomes a cost of safety training.

On the other hand, if it’s online training, you no longer have to pay someone to deliver the training. Your safety training system does that for you. And so you’ve saved that cost.

This may not seem like a lot for one safety training session. But think of all the different safety training sessions that occur on different safety topics and to different groups of employees. Now think of that throughout an entire year, or over 2, 3, or 5 years. It’s easy to see how the cost of delivering face-to-face safety training can become very expensive.

Training completion

If the cost of paying people to lead/deliver safety training is one side of a coin, the cost of paying your employees to complete safety training is the second side of that same coin.

Online safety training can cut these costs significantly.

Because employees can complete this training on a computer or even their phone, you’ll never have to pay to reserve a hotel or rent a room. And you won’t have to pay travel expenses.

Because employees can complete this training on their own time during slow periods at work, you’ll never have to pay overtime to get workers all in one place at the same time.

And you won’t have to pay for all the unproductive time that occurs when pulling workers together for safety training–waiting for the late stragglers to arrive, handing out materials, taking a bathroom break, the time lost when people lose focus and begin simply chatting or making jokes, etc.

Training administration

By training administration, we mean a lot of the “small stuff” associated with safety training that isn’t especially exciting but that has to be done and that costs time and money to do. In particular, training administration includes the following (and more):

  • Notifying employees of training assignments and responsibilities
  • Informing instructors of training assignments and responsibilities
  • Reserving rooms
  • Distributing training materials

There’s nothing really fun or exciting about any of this. Automate it, be done with it, and save money while you do it.

Training documentation and keeping records of training

Creating, storing, and retrieving records of completed safety training takes a lot of time, too. And that means money.

Why not automate this process as much as possible to save those funds for something more useful?

As a bonus, you’ll wind up with better, more organized records, too.

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Reduced Costs Indirectly Related to Safety Training

Online safety training helps you cut costs directly related to training, as we just explained.

But it ALSO will help you cut other costs, too. Here’s a quick list of cost-cutting possibilities.

Reduced costs related to accidents, injuries, and other safety incidents

Better safety training leads to safer, healthier workplaces.

Safer, healthier workplaces experience fewer incidents, accidents, and injuries.

And that means you’ll also avoid the costs associated with those workplace accidents that won’t happen anymore. The cost of stopping production or machine downtime. The cost of performing an incident investigation. The cost of giving an employee time away from work or a specific job task. The cost of training new employees to perform the job tasks that an injured employee performed before.

Fewer fees and penalties from regulatory agencies

Injuries and illnesses at work can also draw unwanted attention, scrutiny, and fines/penalties from regulatory agencies such as OSHA, MSHA, DOT, and the EPA.

Because online safety training can lead to lower injury and illness rates, you can also cut costs of potential fines and penalties.

Lower insurance premiums

Your insurance company may cut you a deal if you show you’ve got a well-organized online safety training program and a commitment to using it as part of your larger safety training and health and safety programs.

Check with your insurer to see what their policy is.

Fewer legal penalties resulting form injuries

You also stand to reduce the cost of any legal liability resulting from workplace injuries/illnesses.

First, because the online safety training will make these less likely to occur.

And second, if an incident does occur, you’ll be able to say you’ve provided training on the topic, show the training, and show the records of training completion.

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Increased Worker Productivity as a Result of Online Safety Training

Improved safety is a great benefit of online safety training.

But studies also repeatedly show that safety training leads to more productive workers as well.

And those productivity gains increase when you bring online safety training into the equation. Let’s look at some of the ways this happens.

Improved worker morale

Workers notice what their supervisors and managers say and do. And workers also notice what they make investments in.

When a company adopts online safety training, it’s making an investment in the health and safety of the men and women who work there.

Employees notice that investment in their safety. And they appreciate it. And this raises morale, which leads to a wide variety of positive benefits at work.

Better safety culture

In addition to creating a safer workplace, introducing online safety training can also improve the overall safety culture at work.

When workers see that upper management has made an investment in safety (with online safety training), they often become more active participants in all safety issues at work. They identify and report more hazards, and help propose controls for those hazards. They stop taking safety shortcuts and tell coworkers if they’re working unsafely. They propose changes to improve current safety training, and even new safety training topics.

This is great, because as everyone knows, employee involvement is key for safety and health management systems and safety generally.

Competitive advantage in new employee hiring

Having an online safety training system at work gives you one more advantage over your competitors as you try to hire the best, most skilled workers available.

Put yourself in a job seeker’s shoes, if you will. You’re trying to choose where to work next. During your interviews, you ask about a company’s safety record and the safety training you’ll receive as a worker. One company hems and haws and has little to say about their safety training program. The other company logs into their online safety training system, gives you an idea of the type of materials inside, and even lets you watch part of a safety training course.

The potential employee may not choose to work for your company simply because of your online safety training system. But it may be one of many factors that cause them to choose to work for you and not for a different company. And ultimately, every the success of every company depends on great employees.

Better employee retention rates

An online safety training system will also help you keep your good employees longer.

We’ve already established that online safety training can improve overall safety, lead to a better safety culture, and contribute to better employee morale.  All of these will logically lead to better employee retention rates.

And of course, you want better employee retention rates. You don’t want to lose your good employees, with all the valuable skills and knowledge they possess. And you don’t want to have to continually train new workers to get them up to speed (which costs a great deal of time and money).

Conclusion: THAT’s How to Pitch Online Safety Training to Your Boss

We hope this article has given you some good ideas of how to pitch online safety training to your boss so you can get going with it at your own work.

Let us know if you’ve got any more questions, we’re happy to help. You can use the comments field below or just contact us to view previews or schedule a demo.

You might also want to check out two of our video overviews, which we’ve included below.

Here’s an overview of a few highlights from our safety and health eLearning course library.

And here’s a quick overview of our Convergence learning management system (LMS) for administering your health and safety training.

Finally, you may find the guide below interesting. It’s got 10 real stories from 10 of our real customers, each of whom shared their stories about how online safety training helped at their workplace.

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Benefits of Online Safety Training

Wondering if you should make the plunge with online safety training? This guide gives 10 reasons why, each based on experiences at real companies like yours.

Download Free Guide

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Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. Jeff has worked in education/training for more than twenty years and in safety training for more than ten. You can follow Jeff at LinkedIn as well.

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