IIMS 94 contents
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Occupational health and safety in multimedia

Virginia Taylor
Price Waterhouse Urwick, Melbourne
The value of multimedia in all its forms in education and training is widely accepted by the educators, multimedia specialists and the domestic "got a very powerful PC give me all the software you got" maniacs. The group who are more often harder to convince are the GMs, the directors and the middle manager operatives. What will get them interested is demonstrated cost savings and policy compliance and reduced down time respectively. During this presentation I will discuss two cases where multimedia training has provided the means of meeting these objectives. One in the Chemical industry and the other in the Building and Construction industry.

The occupational health and safety management system

Demonstrated compliance with this management system would automatically result in compliance with all the other requirements. The system consists of a typical quality system. Having built this system it was realised that without very clear understanding of how it worked by all employees, it was bound to fail. The system needs to be balanced with procedures, auditing and training.

The organisation has about 11,000 employees on about 80 locations. The main means of training in the previous management system has been a five day conventional lecturing and workshop style management course. Course participants gave glowing assessments of the course, but a re-evaluation in 1991 showed that after five years, only about 500 employees in the Company had received this training.

The decision

After a detailed needs assessment by the Occupational Health and Safety team and training specialists, it was concluded that to ensure the success of the system, multimedia training was the preferred modality. This was because:

The product

Following this decision, a selection process resulted in a project negotiated with Price Waterhouse to develop multimedia to cover: The multimedia is now used across the organisation to provide all employees with a thorough grounding in the organisation's Occupational Health and Safety managers and the individual's responsibility in the field.

The CBT module clearly states the objectives of the training and the skills which will be achieved after the training. It then describes the management structure for SH&E and the strategy to be followed. As the information develops, questions are used to check for understanding and retention of key concepts.

Graphics are used to provide a picture of the overall scheme for each part of the strategy, such as auditing, then details and questions to fill out the details follow.

The CBT is used to lead the employee through the Company Occupational Health and Safety policy, and in particular, what the individual responsibilities are to meet that Policy. What follows is an explanation of the mandatory standards and the non-mandatory procedures.

The influences of legislation and individual responsibilities under the law are also covered as well as the role of agencies such as Worksafe in Australia. The opportunity is also taken to highlight the Company Emergency Response Service. The Module concludes with a summary followed by a series of questions to check understanding of the whole module.

The outcome

The multimedia has also enabled us to rebuild our face to face course to focus on other competencies in Occupational Health and Safety management such as problem solving and team skills. The multimedia has become required pre-work for that course.

Case study 1: The chemical industry

The need

In 1990/91 managers in this organisation were faced with burgeoning requirements in the fields of safety, health and environment. The demands came from a variety of sources including: As a result of these demands senior manufacturing managers were spending up to 50% of their work time managing SH&E. This affected productivity and so too the bottom line.

The solution they developed applied quality management principles to Occupational Health and Safety and integrated all of the above requirements into a single management system.

Case study 2: The building and construction industry

The environment

The building and construction industry Australia wide has suffered a down turn in the last five years. To the industry credit it has recognised the need for massive reform. It has been moving rapidly being pushed along by the National Industry Reform Agenda, the increasingly more stringent demands made by government to meet quality standards and the Australian Vocational Education Agenda.

The organisation need

The organisation we are working for is looking at practical ways to comply with these industry demands and at the same time ensure their long term viability. To this end they have appointed one of their most experienced and able people to the position of Work Place Reform Adviser.

In this capacity he authorised the conduct of an organisation wide skills audit using the as yet unendorsed national competency standards as a base. It became apparent that there was a skills gap in the area of occupational health and safety. We came in at the point where our client was grappling with:

As part of a total solution a decision was made to find a way to train people at entry level in occupational, health and safety.

The training need

It was then necessary to outline the parameters and define the objectives for the training. The training needed to:

The solution

Discussions followed during which it was agreed that multimedia training had the capability of providing for all of these objectives.

It was then necessary to convince others of the suitability of the medium. The most appropriate way of doing that was to produce a demonstration. You can see this demonstration after this presentation.

Producing the demonstration

The research
In an industry like the building and construction industry there are many interested parties. So one of our first tasks was to identify the stakeholders and make contact. We discussed the concepts and what they would like to me come out of the production and asked them to recommend relevant experts in the area.

We also took some time to talk to the workers on site and attended a site induction course. We also took a tour of a site under construction guided by the occupational heath and safety expert who was able to point out the hazards and the mandatory day to day precautions taken on a construction site. In this way we were able to gather real data to be used in the scripting and production.

The design
The second stage of the production phase is to bring the design team together. This team consists of creative script writer, graphic artist, video producer, psychologist and programmer. Together we decide on the overall tone, the means of hooking the learner, the flow and the assessment points. This is of course done using the parameters and directives as outlined earlier.

The instructional design
The training is then designed resulting in a story board, voice over script and video script. Subject matter and language experts are asked to review and approve the content and the script.

The production
At this point the script and story board are handed over to the production manager who coordinates the video production, sound/voice recording, graphics, animation and programming.

The validation
To ensure the final product meets the demands of the stakeholders it undergoes a final inspection and approval from the interacted parties.

The pilot
Our production will then be piloted with the learners over a period of time to gauge its success in application, both in terms of site and user acceptability, and achievement of educational objectives.

The demonstration
The demonstration was designed to create interest in the construction worker. This was done using video to bring home the concept leaving home safe and going home safe. We filmed real workers in a real environment.

We gained involvement of the learner by simulating the work place on the screen and asking for interaction with familiar work place scenes. The learner has the incentive of being assessed as competent in a recognised national competency.

We invite the learner to participate without threat or difficulty by using a touch screen to make choices or move the lesson along. All interaction is acknowledged and responded to.

The keys to gaining acceptance
To gain acceptance for multimedia is no different to selling training solutions in any other medium. You must demonstrate productivity gains and a positive bottom line effect.

Author: Virginia Taylor
Price Waterhouse Urwick, Management Consultants
Price Waterhouse Centre, 215 Spring St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: 03 666 6111

Please cite as: Taylor, V. (1994). Occupational health and safety in multimedia. In C. McBeath and R. Atkinson (Eds), Proceedings of the Second International Interactive Multimedia Symposium, 540-542. Perth, Western Australia, 23-28 January. Promaco Conventions. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1994/qz/taylor.html

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