Centralize Your Training System
You can empower trainees to manage their own safety training schedules.
- By Marc Jorrens
- Jun 01, 2008
Allowing your employees to schedule and receive
their training online, from basic to
ultra-specific needs, can reduce administrative
time, increase timely attendance, and
allow instructors visibility into their schedules. In the
safety world of “need it now and it’d better be documented,”
such a system enhances your training, documentation,
and employee skills progression, providing a
“win/win” situation for employees who view this type of
system as user friendly and reliable.
Whether booking an airline trip for our next vacation
or paying bills online, we enjoy the accessibility that lets
us get these things done at any time of the day.Much of
the same philosophy applies to scheduling safety training
programs. A trainee may need to sign up for new-hire
orientation,Hazard Communication updates as chemicals
in the workplace change, a CPR course, or continuing
education classes in his field. Although some of these
in-person courses have been replaced by computer-based
training, many others still require some type of instructor
and venue. Organizing the trainers, trainees, and locations
in one centralized area can drastically reduce administrative
churn and increase employee response.
Standardizing the needs of each course also reduces the
last-minute hysteria of training. (Have you ever searched
for a projector screen three minutes before class is scheduled
Some new reservation and scheduling systems now
empower the employee to reserve his courses online
while the back-office staff reserves the instructor, location,
and other required items (projectors, tables, chairs,
etc.)—all of whom are using the same system.Paper handling
and filing are greatly reduced. These systems also
link into computer-based training software to consolidate
results, as well as allowing training videos to be
streamed and monitored over the Internet.
Getting Safety Videos Online
Many companies send out safety training videos (DVDs)
to trainees to view. Many of these DVDs are required
training items, with credit given after they have been
viewed. In many organizations, there is no structured
process to ensure that the DVDs have been viewed. In addition,
management of the inventory of DVDs and who
has them can be a real headache. Many DVDs are lost
after they have been sent out for viewing.
An alternative to physically sending out DVDs and/or
managing them internally is to stream them over the Internet.
The term “streaming” means the entire video does
not need to be downloaded to the viewer’s computer before
it is viewed. Thus, the response time from when the
user clicks “View” to the moment they see the video can
be measured in seconds rather than minutes.Many safety
videos range between 45 and 60 minutes in length.Various
companies handle the DVD conversion to a streamable
file and also do the actual streaming over the Internet.
Packages for both of these services are not that expensive.
Here are the steps you need to follow to get your safety
1. Choose a provider. Do a Google search on keywords
such as “DVD Conversion and Streaming.”
Choose a provider that offers both conversion and the
subsequent streaming of your videos.Most of these companies
have discounted conversion rates if you send them
a batch of DVDs (more than 10, often). They also have a
variety of packages for the streaming.
You should first get an idea of how many total videos
will be watched per month, along with the average length
of these videos. This will dictate which monthly bandwidth
package you need.
2. Send in the DVDs. Once you have set up an account
with your provider, you can send in your DVDs for conversion.
The more you can send in at once, the lower the
conversion rate per DVD will be; negotiate on this.
3. Click and view. After the DVDs are converted to a
streaming format, the provider will give you a web URL
for each video. Clicking on that URL will start the video
player on your computer and you will be able to play, fast
forward, rewind, and pause the video.
Allowing your DVDs to be streamed over the internet
is a good first step, but what about ensuring the video has
been viewed? There are a few ways to get this information:
1. The user/trainee tells you he has seen
2.You have a way to monitor how long the
video has played on the user’s computer and
then assume it has been viewed.
3. The user is given a questionnaire/quiz
on topics within the video to ensure he has
watched the video.
Currently, many organizations rely on option
1, where they send out their videos and
assumed the trainee has watched them. New
software systems exist that allow you to accomplish
options 2 & 3. They monitor viewing
time and can be linked to questionnaires
when the video completes to ensure the
trainee was present while the video played.
These systems may now automatically track
and give credit for viewing your DVDs. This
exciting new technology greatly simplifies the
administration of your safety DVDs by
putting the responsibility on the trainee/user.
Online Functionality by User
Before you have your system in place, it is
good to make a list showing everyone who
would need to access the system and why.
This will help you to identify the features and
functionality of your system and ensure no
one is left out of the decision-making process.
Here is an example of a user list you may
come up with:
• Set up class times
• Organize trainers
• Schedule additional resources for the
• Define prerequisites (if any)
• Book classes for trainees over the phone
• Group classes together to form curricula
• Automatically e-mail trainees of upcoming
• Report on successful completion of
• View their training schedules
• View class lists
• Monitor attendance via an attendance
report or online check-in
• Set their availability
• Register for courses
• Update their profile information
• Review what courses they have taken
• Receive confirmation e-mails on class
registrations, including what to bring and
• Receive information on required and
• View training DVDs online and get
credit for viewing them
• Send feedback on courses
Auditors and Human Resources
• On hand, completely up-to-date training
• Instantly available employee records for specific training for auditors
• Documentation for non-compliance
available to HR or supervisors
By publishing all of this information
online, you have now closed the loop of
communication between the three major
parties involved. Moving from Outlook
Calendars, Excel spreadsheets, and/or
paper to a full online scheduling system can
be a drastic time saver for all groups involved
and can reduce miscommunication.
Problems with scheduling are often resolved
quickly because of the visibility for
New Scheduling System
All of this is wonderful, but what steps must
be done to make it a reality? Here is what you
need to do:
1. Purchase or create a complete online
scheduling system. The system should have
modules for administrators, trainees, and
2. Link the system into your current
HR/employee database to get a listing of the
eligible people for the training classes. These
systems may also allow people to register online
as a new trainee.
3. Create the look and feel of your new
training site so it matches your corporate
4. Enter/import the classes that are offered.
Create descriptions, schedules, and prerequisites
for the classes and spice them up
with photos and graphics.
5. Link in computer-based training courses
such that the site is the hub for all training
6. Publish the classes online to allow
trainees to book them.
7. Give logins to trainers and other resources
so they may see their schedules.
8. Inform your set of users (trainees) of
the new online scheduling hub and let
them at it!
9. Track class attendance and trainee results
by allowing the trainer or administrator
to electronically check people in, add comments,
and complete grading.
10. View progress of trainees by seeing
completed courses and currently scheduled
A centralized safety training system is a
great addition to a current corporate intranet
or as a Web site on the Internet if your training
spans the public. It is critical that your
scheduling tool allow an easy way to import
information such as trainees, classes, and
schedules, as well as export information such
as class results, updated trainee profiles, and
Not only does this provide excellent
training results for your employees, but also
it ensures your management keeps training
on the front lines of long-range planning.
This article originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.