Social distancing policies have put a major strain on the realities of workplace configuration. How do you maintain a safe distance when the job requires close physical proximity? COVID-19 has had a remarkable impact on many facets of the economy and workplace including temporarily relaxing many government regulations (like HIPAA regulations in healthcare).
Once we get past this critical stay-at-home phase of the pandemic, what permanent changes are we to expect in workplace safety policies and government OSHA regulations? And what role can technology play in facilitating effective safety training?
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What we see happening now:
- A lot of people are really scaling back on their training and their training budgets. They are questioning more than ever if something is worth it.
- We see a hesitancy to move forward and a great desire to hold on to their money for the moment because they’re so scared about the future.
- A lot of “set it and forget it.” There’s very little follow up from companies, in terms of figuring out whether behaviors have been adopted. To create real change it isn’t about knowing what to do, it’s motivation to make that change. Having that long term follow up is really important, unfortunately, in these times people are dropping it.
Now and moving forward:
- Over the past couple of months, we were able to find ways to change our processes and procedures to ensure the safety of our trainees… And what we’ve seen in the last month, are people starting to come back. They’re seeing what we’ve done. They’re utilizing what we’ve done in their own workplaces.
- COVID has done more to accelerate the adoption of technology in their company than any CEO or CTO has done in their company’s history. People that maybe were skeptical about online collaboration tools, who have now been forced into that environment or seeing the efficacy of it.
- Leveraging “dirty” video. We can get the same learning outcomes through something a little bit more lo-fi, and cost-effective.
- We’re starting to do more and more virtual reality. We see it not as an end all be all, not the one solution, but as a part of an appropriate mix. You can get hands-on experience and training without being hands on them.
- We hope to see more storytelling, leveraging the ability to push out information. For example: short videos that are shot by people in the company or they could be news stories that motivate.
How chatbots are being used to support safety:
- At Seimens, ZACH is being used to promote their Zero Harm culture. You can try out ZACH by texting the below keyword to the phone number.
- Keyword: Zero Harm
- Phone number: (980) 414-8252
- At Houston Area Safety Council they are using a chatbot is used to reinforce training. They identify critical information and use the chatbot to help learners remember it.
- Spark BC Technical is using a chatbot to evaluate behavior change and attitudes toward safety.
Mike Kovacs is the Technical Training Manager and Digital Innovation Owner at Siemens Energy. For the past 19 years, Mike has worked at Siemens Energy teaching and managing technical trainings. Prior to working at Siemens he taught high school math and physics. Mike holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Mathematics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
Erin Riva’s passion for learning and safety can be traced back to her days on the playground as she “educated” her classmates on the best ways to safely line up for a turn on the slide. Now, as an adult education specialist of 20 years, a veteran chatbot & learning tech designer and CEO/co-founder of SparkBC technical training, she continues her quest for the very best ways to “tell people what to do”.
Dick Hannah is the VP of Learning and Innovation with the Houston Area Safety Council (HASC). In his role with HASC he finds new ways to provide effective compliance and safety training to employees of contractors and refinery site owners. Dick holds a BA from Texas A&M University and an MBA with a focus on eBusiness and Internet Technologies.