Why Business Must Now Harness Video as a Tool for Safety
There are many benefits to using videos as a training medium.
- By Clint Van Marrewijk
- Dec 06, 2022
In 2020, there were 4.0 million work-related, medically consulted injuries in the U.S., and every injury puts a company at risk.
Training is the key to mitigating this risk. Yet even knowledge-sharing is not without its own issues. Safety and risk managers need to keep employees interested and engaged in their training so they know how to stay safe and meet their OSHA requirements.
The challenge for some companies is knowing what medium they should select for training. In today’s compliancy-driven company safety environment, video is emerging as one of the most significant enablers of workplace training. Video is preferred as a learning medium by almost 70 percent of employees compared to written materials.
Here are the core aspects that companies need to consider about harnessing video as a tool for safety.
Video as a Mainstay of Communication
Research has shown that one week after non-video-based training has occurred, up to 65 percent of the content is forgotten by workers.3 Six months after training and the figure climbs to 90 percent forgotten. Conversely, when visuals are included in training, employees retain 65 percent of the material discussed. When it comes to safety training, a company obviously wants to aim for a high retention rate.
Video’s importance as a method of instruction is significant and has grown exponentially over the past few years. Video-based learning is now a common component of security instruction and learning in a multitude of places including factories, distribution centers, offices and boardrooms across the country.
Having video firmly in place as a key communication and training methodology and stored in an accessible site on the company network enables employees to independently undertake refresher courses, increase their safety and contribute to overall risk management efforts.
Video Helps Overcome Language Barriers
Reading Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are no one’s idea of a fun time, even less so when there is a new job to be done and very little time to learn how to do the job properly.
In addition, some workers are unable to read at the level needed to use SOPs. This is a massive area of risk given that many workers who have literacy challenges work in dangerous professions including mining, construction sites, factories and more. A study from the World Literacy Foundation found that illiterate workers are more likely to have workplace accidents. Video mitigates many of the risks posed by poor interpretation of the spoken word. Visually showing someone how to do a task helps communicate the intricacies of doing a job well and safely.
In addition, as the world becomes more multicultural due to immigration and people travelling to various countries for business and educational purposes, video cuts across language barriers with its ability to visually communicate what is being talked about. Workers on a job site who may be able to speak English but may not be fluent in it are still able to receive sufficient safety instruction from video because of the integration of visual and verbal messaging, which helps break down language barriers.
And, in the case where recipients may not be able to speak English at all, videos created in English can always be translated to relevant languages. Obviously, the videos created must take into account various cultural dos and don’ts to ensure that they do not create interpretation challenges.
Less Chance of Miscommunication
If a picture says a thousand words, a video shows ten times as many as that.
The physical real-world nature of safety is hard to avoid, and by using video there is an opportunity to not just tell someone what to do but to show them.
The integration of visual representation coupled with verbal instruction minimizes the risks of miscommunication or messaging being misunderstood. Video also provides the opportunity for instant playback so that if there are any grey areas, recipients can rewind and clarify the areas in question. This is vital because sometimes in a group setting, individuals may hesitate to ask questions or request the trainer repeat themselves because they are concerned about how the group may perceive them.
Obviously, clarity of communication and messaging is dependent on the producer of the video, ensuring that the visual interpretation of the instruction being communicated is 100 percent accurate and, in doing so, the possibility for ambiguity in interpretation is reduced.
Video Deployed Locally, Nationally, Internationally
Prior to the growth and adoption of video, trainers had to travel extensively to educate customers, offices, partners and distributors about new safety protocols, safe operating of equipment and more. The process to develop materials, make travel plans, deliver the instruction, answer questions and measure success of the training took a long time. In addition, if there were any issues that arose once the trainer returned to their office, they may have had to travel out to a location again.
Video streamlines the entire deployment of safety instructions in dozens of countries or locations, irrespective of where a company’s offices are located, at a local, national or international level.
Not only do time zones become redundant, but access to safety training is available 24/7/365. In addition, video delivers messaging that can easily be recalled and is also mobile—facility teams can access the training or instructional videos from tablets or smart phones in the field at any time.
Video is also always available irrespective of network connectivity. If connectivity is guaranteed, then libraries can be accessed to watch videos, and if there is going to be poor reception in the field, then videos can be proactively downloaded, stored on a device and accessed at the appropriate time and place.
The Speed of Delivery
Video also enables a company to rapidly introduce new content. This is useful with changing safety requirements, new regulations or the implementation of new equipment that a company wants to ensure its operators are up to speed on and ready for.
However, speed of delivery is becoming a critical factor in dealing with high-risk situations. For example, how would a company’s facility team in the path of a hurricane in Florida be able to receive rapid instruction and hints to prepare their buildings for the impending storm? Video is faster than the spoken word and research shows that “people are 75 percent more likely to watch video than read print!”5
Companies looking to use video as a method to enhance worker safety should consider the following:
- Combine video instructions with QR Codes to create an on-demand experience. When an employee needs to access a safety video, for whatever reason, they simply hold up their smartphone, scan and watch. There are no barriers to their user experience.
- Have different language options. This is vital for companies with either global locations or with a diverse workforce speaking multiple languages.
- Use pop-up text to supplement the visual messaging and content. This reduces the margin for error when visual instructions may be missed.
- Keep videos short—under 60 seconds. Lengthy videos are more than likely going to result in employees losing their concentration. Messaging should be concise and specific so that it can be retained.
- Show the face of the narrator. This will hold the viewer’s attention, and it promotes engagement.
The trend towards using video in workplace safety will only continue. Video’s contribution to safety training should not be seen as “just another training platform.” Its ability to be deployed instantly and across time zones and carry unambiguous safety messaging will make it a dominant component in the future of safety education and workplace safety training.