What is Online Health and Safety Training, Really, and What Can it Do?

what-is-online-health-and-safety-training-reallyAre you thinking about getting your health and safety training program “online?”

If so, you’ve come to the right place, because in this article, we’re going to explain what an online health and safety training program is and what it can do.

You may find it’s bigger than you’re thinking right now. So with those beginnings, let’s get on topic, huh?

But before we get going, please know we’ve got a free recorded on-demand webinar called Evaluating Online Safety Training Solutions that you may be interested in, too.

“Online” Health and Safety Training

Many people think of e-learning courses when they think of online health and safety training or of online training in general. And e-learning courses are part of the online training package. But it’s only one part. Let’s turn our attention to the different parts of online health and safety training, starting with something called a learning management system. From there we’ll move on to talk about different types of online training, including e-learning, checklist/task-based training, written training materials, and quizzes.

What Is a Learning Management System (LMS) and How Can It Be Part of an Online Health and Safety Training Program?

The first part of the online learning equation is a software application called a learning management system (LMS). You can use an LMS to administer your health and safety training program. That means doing things like:

  • Assigning training to workers, including “one-and-done” training assignments and recurrent assignments for training that must be completed repeatedly
  • Letting workers see the training assignments they’re responsible for completing
  • Letting workers see their current complete/incomplete status on assigned training
  • Providing workers the ability to enroll in optional training in addition to assigned training
  • Letting workers view and complete some (but not all) assigned training online–including e-learning courses and training of other types as well
  • Letting workers repeat training as a refresher if they wish
  • Updating training materials to create new versions, creating a repository of all versions of training materials, and tracking which workers completed which versions
  • Assessing learner’s understanding of training through online tests/quizzes and also through field-based assessments of job task performances
  • Storing records of completed training
  • Printing certificates for completed training
  • Allowing reporting on completed training (and other training-related reporting)
  • Automatically emailing reports to LMS administrators
  • And more…

So in short, an LMS is a software system that completely automates many time-consuming tasks related to training and that makes other training-related tasks much easier and simpler to perform. The basic idea isn’t rocket science and you already use computer systems to save time and make your life easier in many other parts of your work life and your life at home. Why not use computers to save you money and time while administering your safety and health training, too? The image below shows you what an LMS looks like to the average employee who logs in to view/complete his or her assigned health and safety training.

LMS Training Tab

And here’s what an LMS looks like to health and safety training managers who use the LMS to administer training. On the screen below, you see all the various training activities loaded into the system or created directly in the system. Note there are computer-based courses (e-learning) as well as other forms of training, including written documents and instructor-led classes.

LMS Activities

To learn more about LMSs and how they can be used for training, check some of the articles below:

Types of Training You Can Deliver Online Via an LMS

Now that you know what an LMS is and have a general idea of how you can use an LMS as part of an online health and safety training program, let’s turn our attention to the “type” of training you can use with an LMS. The short answer is: all of it. e-Learning courses, instructor-led training, field-based/task-based training incorporating checklists, written training materials, and more. In some cases, such as e-learning, you can use the LMS to do just about everything: assign, deliver, track completion, run reports, etc. In other cases, such as instructor-led training, you can’t deliver the training online via the LMS, but you can still use the LMS to assign, track completion, and run reports. In the sections below, we’ll focus on four types of training you can deliver to your employees online:

  • e-Learning courses
  • Online task-based training incorporating checklists
  • Written training materials
  • Quizzes

e-Learning Courses

Maybe you know these as e-learning courses, or as CBTs, or by yet another name. But when most people think of online training, this is what they’re thinking of. They’re courses delivered online and focused on specific training topics. e-Learning courses typically have many or all of these features:

  • Visual images, audio narration, and written audio script to provide training in a wide variety of information forms, helping to support the learning needs of as many employees as possible
  • Screen navigation and video play/pause/replay controls to allow your employees to proceed through training at their own preferred training pace
  • Unscored questions to reinforce key points to employees and provide an opportunity for practice and feedback
  • Scored tests to assess the employee’s understanding on a pass/fail basis
  • The ability to review a course at any time, 24/7, as a refresher

You’ve probably seen health and safety e-learning courses before, but here’s one example–a still image from an e-learning course about forklift safety that illustrates the “stability triangle.”


Here’s a short video sample from the same forklift safety e-learning course:

Looking for more examples? Check our health and safety training library and our mining safety library. e-Learning courses offer lots of benefits for your training, including:

  • In some cases, e-learning provides more effective training than other training methods. This can be because of e-learning’s ability to deliver sophisticated visuals, for example.
  • e-Learning gives your workers more control and flexibility over things like the pace of training.
  • At times when training delivered in different methods is equally effective, e-learning may be the most cost-effective training solution when training can be delivered equally effectively in various training methods.
  • e-Learning can be easier to use when delivering training to a large workfoce on a “just-in-time” basis.
  • e-Learning makes it easier for workers to access and view training again for periodic refreshers.
  • e-Learning makes it easier to deliver a standard, consistent training message than (for example) instructor-led training.

You probably know you can buy e-learning courses from training providers. You can get them “off the shelf” or have them made custom for your training needs. But did you know you can also make your own e-learning courses for health and safety training? It’s true and it’s easy enough. Want to know how? Here are some helpful resources:

Well, that’s a lot about e-learning, but  if you’re still curious, check some of the articles below to learn more about e-learning and health and safety training.

Online Training for Site-Specific, Task-Based Procedural Training (Job Skill Training)

Although e-learning courses can be a great addition to your online health and safety training solution, they’re not the only type of online training you can use within an LMS. For example, many work places have to train workers on the correct and/or safe way to perform certain job skills or procedures. One handy way to do this is with an online “checklist”-type of tool. You can use the checklist to teach a procedure to a worker and/or to later evaluate if the worker is performing the procedure in a proper, safe manner. If you work in manufacturing or industry, you probably are familiar with this type of training even if you don’t do it online. And if you’re part of the “lean manufacturing” world, you probably also know this basic idea from the Training Within Industry Job Instruction (JI) method of teaching job skills. Here’s an example of a “Tasklist” below. It was created directly inside an LMS with tools that come built-into the LMS. It’s a simple safety-based procedural skill–how to operate a fire extinguisher using the PASS method. This can be assigned to a worker online. The worker can view the procedure that he/she has been assigned and all the steps. You can even add images and/or video files illustrating how to perform each step if you wish. You’ll note that there’s a place where an instructor can “check the worker off” for each step in the process. These can be used so that an instructor can take the worker out into the field and have the worker perform each step while the instructor evaluates the worker’s performance. If you want, you can create the Tasklist so it requires dual check-offs from the worker and the instructor, and you can even use the LMS to capture signatures from both.

fire extinguisher pass tasklist

Click here to read more articles about checklists, job training, and learning management systems:

Written Materials (Such as SOPs, Policies, and PowerPoints) as Part of Your Online Health and Safety Training Program

You can also use written materials as part of your online health and safety training program. For example, below is a PDF about the proper use of respirators. This could be assigned to workers. It would then be their responsibility to read the document. There’s even a place where they can check off, acknowledging that they have read and understood it.


Self-Created Online Quizzes as Part of Your Online Health and Safety Training Program

Another aspect of “online health and safety training” is the ability to create your own online quizzes, assign them to workers, and have them completed through the LMS online. This allows you to create your own, entirely site-specific quizzes that match the health and safety training requirements at your work. You write the questions, you mark the correct answers, you write the feedback for people who get the answer correct or incorrect, and you set the passing score.

PPE Quiz

Conclusion: Online Health and Safety Training Is More Than Just e-Learning

By now we hope you’ve got a better idea of what an online health and safety training solution can do. Maybe one or two things caught you by surprise? Maybe pleasantly?

The LMS allows you to automate many of the functions you’re doing manually today. Say goodbye to all the scheduling logistics, the manual creation of training records, storing records in multiple locations, trying to keep track of training that must be taken repeatedly, paper-based tests, and more. You also saw four different ways an LMS can deliver training materials, through e-learning, field-based tasklists, online quizzes, and even written materials (in formats like PDF and PowerPoint).

And we only mentioned, but didn’t go into detail, how the LMS can help you administer training that doesn’t occur online, such as instructor-led training. You can notify assigned learners and inform them of the time and location, allow them to download an agenda or pre-class reading material before they arrive, grant them credit for attending, store completion records, run reports, and more.

Let us know if you’ve got any questions. You can use the comments field below or just contact us with any questions or to set up a demo.

Got another two minutes? Check out our Enterprise LMS Overview video.

You may want to download the free guide below, too.

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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. He's worked in training/learning & development for 20 years, in safety and safety training for more than 10, is an OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer for General Industry OSHA 10 and 30, and is a member of the committee creating the upcoming ANSI Z490.2 national standard on online environmental, health, and safety training.

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