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Online Training: What You Need to Know

Online training courses and the number of people who utilize them have grown in number significantly in the past 5-10 years. Safety training is mandatory for all employees, but the quality of the training is something that must be addressed. Sending employees to the computer to quickly and easily complete a training course just to satisfy requirements is not good enough. The employer has to be responsible for choosing quality training that will ensure the safety of the employees in the workplace. Here are a few tips for choosing a quality online training program:

  • Does the program require the student to interact? I’m sure we all remember the days in school when the teacher would pull out the projector or the TV/VCR cart for an educational video and you would get excited b/c you needed to catch up on some zzzz’s, right? Passive education requires nothing from the student and rarely ensures retention of the material taught. Online courses can fall into this same trap. A student presses play and can then surf the internet, pay their bills, or take a nap while the training runs in the background. An interactive online training program requires the student to pay attention and provide feedback. This ensures the student retains the information being taught.
  • Does the student have the opportunity to ask questions of a live person? This may be something that the training program or the employer provides. There should be a way for students to receive clarification on what they don’t understand.
  • Is there some form of assessment or evaluation? There should be an evaluation at the end of each section of the training, as well as at the end. These questions should coincide with the learning objectives that are set forth at the beginning of the program.
  • Do you provide hands-on activities where needed? If you’re training employees on respiratory or fall protection, they should have actual examples that they can manipulate and practice donning and doffing.
  • How old is the online training program? ASSE suggests that training programs should be revised every 2-3 years. Material and evaluations should be updated. This especially holds true of training that is delivered on an annual basis. Your employees don’t want to receive the same training year after year. Keep it interesting and up-to-date.
  • Are the topics relevant? No one wants to sit through a training that has nothing to do with them. Make sure you choose training programs that directly relate to the job and responsibilities of the students.
  • Is online training right for your employees? Some people just aren’t computer people. Find out how your employees learn best and use that method. If online training is a must, work with those who have poor computer skills until they feel comfortable.

FYI: Online OSHA-Authorized Outreach Training – Back in January of this year, OSHA announced that only a handful of providers would be able to deliver OSHA-Authorized Outreach Training in an online format. The reason for doing this was because many online trainers were providing subpar training and still issuing official OSHA wallet cards. Many workers were getting their cards but unwittingly were still not properly trained in the hazards of their workplace. OSHA realized it had to step in and provide more regulation for this kind of training. After a competitive application process, OSHA announced only 10 training providers that are now authorized to offer official OSHA Outreach training and the official OSHA 10 or 30 Hour cards.

Anyone interested in taking these courses needs to be aware that there are still courses being offered online that are not OSHA-approved and you will NOT receive an official OSHA wallet card. Many of these providers will tell you that you will receive a 10-hour card or 30-hour card or a “state-recognized OSHA card”, however these are not the official OSHA cards. If you need an official OSHA card to get onto a jobsite or satisfy specific training requirements for your company, make sure you are only buying your online training from one of the providers approved by OSHA. Many of the selected providers are not able to offer all of the online training courses yet. They are in the process of revising the training programs and they should be available later this year. Many of the sites we visited offered the 10 and/or 30-hour Construction courses but not the General Industry courses.


This information is provided as a service to you by Compliance Consultants, Inc.

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