Q: We're thinking about producing a new Contractor Induction video, and were discussing the possibilities of making an interactive DVD.
What are your thoughts on this please?
Health & Safety Adviser
North West UK
A: An interactive DVD for Contractor Induction is an excellent idea. It has many benefits. Let's look at the real situation when inducting contractors and we'll see why.
The main problem with contractor induction for any company is the time it takes.
Contractors come onsite and need to get to their place of work as quickly as possible, as that's why they're there in the first place.
A lengthy induction holds them up for the job they're supposed to be doing. So a shorter induction is always preferable, so long as site safety isn't being compromised. But how short is short, and how long is long where safety is concerned?
Types of Contractor
Different contractors work with different degrees of risk. A person working at heights needs a deeper induction than a caterer - or a site visitor. So inductions need to be adaptable to the individual need. There is no one size fits all. But most typical induction videos are exactly that - one size to fit all.
Validating contractors that they have received and understood the training is usually little more than a "got that?", although this is obviously extended when a local formal dialogue is required for a permit.
But as a rule, there is no full validation process that establishes competence. It would simply take too long, and there aren't necessarily the people to spare to do it.
So there it is, the three problems with contractor induction: Time, No One-size-fits-all, and weak Validation. These are not just problems in manufacturing industries, but can apply equally to the chemical and process or construction industries.
Interactive DVD solves all these problems effectively.
A contractor arrives on site and is put in front of a video.
It says: Please select your contractor type
With a standard remote control in hand, the contractor selects their trade, from a list. Their choice visually highlights so they know they've made the right choice.
The screen then says: Please select your place of work
Again the contractor uses the button box and selects their work location
From these choices, the DVD now knows which video modules to play, and which to leave out.
Please bear in mind that these choices can be whatever choices you deem fit to determine what safety video information the contractor is required to see.
Exciting stuff so far. The interactive DVD delivers only the required information, no more and less. You can start to see how inductions can become much more efficient by showing just what needs to be seen.
But we can make inductions more effective too.
After the contractor has viewed a given module, it ends with a question screen.
eg: What is the site speed limit
or Which of the following are not allowed on site: Drink, drugs, smoking
or Are you working at greater than 2 metres height?
The contractor uses the remote control to answer the questions.
If they get the answers right, they get a congratulation.
If they get them wrong they automatically have to view the relevant safety module again.
This validation is important.
While many inductions obviously offer training they tend to assume the contractor understands the key safe behaviours and rules required
With an interactive DVD you can actually validate the training received. This is the most significant breakthrough in contractor induction since the widespread introduction of video in the late 80s and early 90s.
This not only has competency benefits, it has legal implications too. If in the event of being sued over a claim, or being investigated, it may be important to your legal case to demonstrate that the safety training was validated as well as received.
Interactive DVD may provide an important legal edge.
Here are some training video samples inc three contractor DVD inductions of different types