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How to create a health and safety culture

Posted: Tue, 16 Jun 2015 10:23

All businesses have a legal responsibility for the welfare of their staff, making Health and Safety training a necessary consideration regardless of industry.

And, while eLearning is an efficient and cost effective way to deliver that training, to fully minimise workplace injuries and risk, businesses need to create a Health and Safety culture – a culture in which staff behaviour is aligned with Health and Safety training, and correct procedures are naturally integrated rather than seen as an unnecessary offshoot of a box-ticking exercise.

Cultural change

When we produced the Concussion Awareness module which every professional rugby player, coach and official completed, a key issue we addressed was the 'warrior mentality' – players continuing after taking knocks to the head, in spite of the known risks and long term effects.

While this may seem to be a rugby-specific issue, there are lessons all businesses can take in creating cultural change:

1. Staff need to be shown the right way

Before the Concussion Awareness module was rolled out, players would play on after receiving blows to the head, treating feelings of grogginess and confusion as simply part of the game.

Similarly, workers will often continue despite injuries, aches or pains, which are in all likelihood entirely avoidable and caused by incorrect procedures. Although people may complain about symptoms, it takes engaging training to change their behaviours and stop exacerbating the problem.

In order to make an impact, Health and Safety eLearning must not only teach people to recognise risks and hazards which can lead to injuries, but show them the correct ways of working.

The result: behavioural changes, improved working procedures and reduced workplace injuries.

2. Making content engaging is a challenge even when potentially saving lives

The risks of brain problems and even death in those who play on after receiving a blow to the head are now well known, but that knowledge alone wasn't enough to grab players' attention.

Players were sometimes even encouraged to play on by team mates and coaches, making it easy for them to ignore the potential consequences. In the workplace, incorrect procedures can also often go undetected or ignored, leading to injuries, absences and reduced capability.

Our Concussion Awareness module solved this by engaging learners and showing them the potential consequences of ignoring the advice, using character-based scenarios with video, audio and graphical elements to create an emotional response in the learner – tactics we employ to make engaging Health and Safety eLearning.

The result: engaging eLearning which becomes a part of the workplace culture, with staff looking out for each other as well as themselves.

3. Enforcing completion is a must

The Rugby Football Union, Premiership Rugby and Rugby Players' Association set a 2 month deadline for every professional player, coach and official to complete the Concussion Awareness module.

Failing to complete the module within the deadline would lead to a series of fines and ultimately suspension. Consequently, 100% of the players, coaches and officials completed the course – over 1500 in total.

Businesses must put in place procedures to ensure every employee completes their Health and Safety training. If a worker suffers an accident having been insufficiently trained, then not only could the worker be seriously injured – the business has failed to meet its legal responsibilities.

Our Astute eLearning Platform allows the monitoring of course completion rates and sending of automated chaser emails to users yet to complete the course. The penalty for failing to do so is up to the administrator!

The result: maximum completion rates and fully auditable records of staff training, protecting your workforce and business.

4. Understanding the audience is key

The goal of the Concussion Awareness module was reducing the risk of serious brain injuries in players by raising awareness among players, coaches and officials – groups with entirely different responsibilities when it comes to managing concussion.

We created a separate version of the module for each of these groups, to ensure that the content was specifically relevant to their own responsibilities and perspectives.

Creating eLearning content tailored to the audience's requirements ensures maximum engagement and retention of information – ultimately leading to a bigger cultural impact.

When implementing a Health and Safety eLearning programme, consideration must be give to the different responsibilities of general staff, managers, and staff responsible for managing contractors.

The result: eLearning content which each audience can relate to and apply to their own daily working patterns, for the benefit of your business.

5. Content never stops developing

There have long been policies in place in rugby for player welfare, but medical advances and ongoing research means these evolve constantly as our understanding develops.

There is no 'one-size fits all' solution – training must be updated frequently to stay relevant and effective – which makes eLearning ideal. If and when the understanding of concussion treatment is furthered, the module can be updated and instantly made available across the sport.

Health and Safety is constantly evolving area, as changes to working practises create new potential risks and legislation. We regularly update our Health and Safety eLearning to align with legislation and best practise, and keep content fresh for learners taking courses on a recommended annual basis.

The result: a training programme which evolves with requirements and understanding, stays engaging, and creates a Health and Safety culture.

Tags: Health and Safety