Process Safety: A flexible approach to learning in the workplace
Successful businesses require a capable workforce operating with a defined structure and clear processes to ensure that everyone understands what needs to be done. This calls for competent employees with the knowledge, skills, experience and attitudes to deliver what is needed, day after day.
In the high hazard industries, competence assurance must be linked to the major accident hazards, risk assessments and critical tasks, ensuring that those carrying out the tasks receive the information and instruction they need to complete them safely. Training must not only be task specific but should cover process safety principles relevant to the role and responsibilities. Everyone from senior management to shop floor ought to be included, whether directly involved in operations or in essential support functions such as warehousing, logistics, engineering, maintenance, inspection, procurement, etc.
Developing and maintaining competency is a significant undertaking. Training programmes based solely on classroom teaching can be particularly challenging because of the disruption, time and costs involved. But it is not always necessary to bring everyone together for training, as seen by the shift towards self-directed study in recent years. Increasingly, adult learners in employment are being encouraged to access lesson materials online, in preparation for more formal instructor led training.
In the online world, learners can access lesson resources, search archives and replay audio-visual materials, anytime, anywhere, fitting lessons in or around daily routines. A modern Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will allow standard and bespoke modules to be combined to create flexible learning paths to suit the needs of individuals, teams or departments. Blogs and messaging facilities can also be used to enhance the experience by allowing participants to pose questions to one another, sharing what they know as part of an online community.
A blended approach to learning, where the basics are covered through tailored self-study, allows participants to come together to properly build on what they know through lectures, workshops and practical exercises. In short, mixing online digital media with traditional classroom methods can deliver programmes that are far more flexible, cost effective and better suited to learners in the workplace.