How Sure Are You That Staff Know What To Do In An Emergency ?
Let me start with a story about Fire Safety Training………
I recently had the opportunity to speak with a Residence Manager in Aged Care who had over 150 staff requiring General First Response Training, and some 15% of those who also required Warden Training. She and her administration worker were pulling their hair out reviewing and restructuring the roster and trying to book training rooms given the current COVID-19 room occupant restrictions. The costs associated with conducting the training not only incorporated the cost to have an external provider come and deliver (including flights and accommodation given the necessity to deliver to night shift staff), but there were also the costs of each employee at an average of $28 per hour, together with the time and costs involved getting it organised.
With all the running around, labour costs, external training costs twice yearly, they still could not guarantee compliance because as soon as the first new staff member started after the training was completed, they were non-compliant.
This is not an unfamiliar scenario – ask any Residence Manager or Roster Coordinator in Residential Aged Care and they will tell you it is an ongoing nightmare.
There is a simple and effective solution to this problem – online learning!!
Does fire safety & emergency management training have to be delivered face-to-face??? — The short answer is NO!
So, what are the requirements?
Safe Work Australia (SWA) indicates that the following be considered in determining training requirements:
- inclusion of emergency procedure training in induction courses for new workers
- provision of refresher training for existing workers
- provision of training for short-term contractors or visitors at the workplace (this may not need to be as extensive as may be required for workers), and
- provision of specific training for individuals who have a formal role in an emergency for example fire wardens, floor wardens, first aid officers.
All of this can be done through online learning, and the statistics indicate a substantially higher retention of knowledge utilising online learning as opposed to face-to-face scenarios. Let’s face it, people don’t usually want to be there, and unless the presentation is unusually riveting, you’ve lost them after the first 5 minutes.
Although site orientation and induction is of course a requirement, an effective online training and induction portal will highlight the Fire Indicator Panel, fire exits, all your installed firefighting equipment, and which machinery might need to be turned off in an emergency. If new staff, volunteers, and contractors have completed their required training, your site orientation becomes a brief tour of the building. Apart from that, the only practical requirement is to conduct an annual evacuation exercise or drill.
Online learning also gives you the opportunity to test people’s knowledge and understanding, not just sign an attendance sheet!
What are the Benefits to Your Organisation?
For as little as 15 Cents Per Bed Per Day, an online training and induction portal can achieve learning outcomes for all your staff that complies with:
- Current Workplace Health and Safety Legislation
- Building Fire Safety Regulations (QLD)
- Australian Standards (AS 3745:2010 — Planning for Emergencies), and
- Australian Standards (AS 4083:2010 — Planning for Emergencies in Health Care Facilities).
The specific benefits you can achieve include:
- All staff and volunteers complete General First Response Training, pass the assessment components, are knowledgeable about emergencies, what to do, and how to evacuate.
- All staff and volunteers receive automated reminders to complete their training in line with your organisation’s specific requirements.
- All contractors complete their required components and receive automated reminders when your organisation requires them to update.
- All staff with additional responsibilities during an Emergency, i.e. Chief Wardens, Floor or Area Wardens, and First Aid Officers complete Emergency Control Organisation (ECO – Warden Team) training in addition to their General First Response Training.
- Reports of fire training compliance can be run by local managers, State Managers, and Corporate Office.
- All your training records are maintained online in one place — these records, together with copies of fire safety and emergency management audits, audit rectification records and your Fire Safety and Emergency Management Plan are kept in one place and available for compliance audits.
One of the other benefits of utilising online learning in your business is that each assessment only takes 20-30 minutes and can be available to a new staff member, a volunteer, or a new contractor, as part of their onboarding. As the building owner or occupier you meet compliance requirements by ensuring that all occupants are trained in how to respond to an emergency. Better still, it can be performed out of work hours, adding no cost to the organisation, and providing flexibility for staff and contractors.
The other major benefit of online learning especially during our current COVID-19 era, is that you are not increasing risk of infection by bringing external contractors onsite to conduct Face to Face Training. Even during a pandemic you are still responsible for maintaining compliance with Fire Safety and Emergency Management legislation, regulations, standards, and codes, as well as the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Standards.
The documents that guide your compliance for Fire Safety and Emergency Management are:
- Australian Standard AS 3745-2010 Planning for emergencies in facilities, and
- AS 4083-2010 Planning for emergencies – Health care facilities.
ACM has chosen to partner with PlanSafe to help residential aged care and in-home care businesses just like yours become and remain compliant with all aspects of Building and Workplace Fire Safety.
We enjoy removing the complexities to provide one simple concise solution that becomes part of the culture and not just a document hidden in a drawer
Mark Slade, CEO of Australian Compliance Management
Get in touch with Australian Compliance Management:
Phone: 1300 206 006