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The construction industry sector is one of the oldest and well-developed work sectors in the world. The industry accounts for over 10% of the Gross Domestic Product with at least 7% of employees worldwide working in this field. Considering that over 270 million people are employed in construction globally, L&D for construction workers is one of the paramount departments construction firms need to focus on today.
One of the more important branches of construction training focuses on teaching employees proper regulations and how to stay safe in the workplace. With the advent of eLearning, these foundational but often life-saving concepts and rules became easier to access and assimilate. Still, online training for the construction industry has had a slower evolution when compared to other industries and fields. Let's take a look at how training in construction has evolved over time.
The history of construction begins way back in the New Stone Age when people used stone, hide, mammoth bones, wood, and other raw materials that were readily available. Groups of people worked together and taught each other how to build dwellings to keep safe from natural elements and predators.
Construction training didn't emerge until craftsmen in the Middle Age began organizing themselves into guilds. This was the first official time that master builders started taking on apprentices and the trade began to be passed on by closely working with and observing the masters at work. As engineering, science, and architecture evolved, the need for an organized way of transferring construction knowledge and skill became essential. Steam-powered, diesel/petrol, and electric-powered machinery generated the need for specialized trade schools.
Even so, it wasn't until the 1900s that legitimate health and safety commissions started forming in order to protect workers and educate them on the dangers of their respective trades. Back then, 300 out of 100,000 miners would perish on the job each year. The rate of mortality for construction workers was very high, and it has taken over one hundred years to get those numbers down.
Today, the construction industry at large still reports standards violations in a variety of construction-related fields. Although the number of miners that die each year has come down from 300 to 9, businesses in the U.S. still spend about a billion dollars a week due to injured workers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States Department of Labor, some of the top standards violations in 2019 were:
Fall Protection and Training Requirements
Machinery and Machine Guarding
Eye and Face Protection
Powered Industrial Trucks
Ladders and Scaffolding
Despite living in the age of information, many workers continue to lack proper health and safety compliance. This leads to workplace injury and mistreatment of tools and machinery which costs construction companies billions of dollars every year.
Employee training is important in any work field, but even more so in the construction industry where many serious or fatal workplace accidents can happen due to negligence or lack of proper training. Using eLearning for construction, employees can improve workplace compliance, help with onboarding processes, and cut overall construction costs. Here are a few ways in which virtual employee training can benefit your construction project:
Today's modern workforce relies heavily on technology to complete a multitude of tasks. Online training can be incorporated into employee workflows to ensure a safer work and training environment. Virtual training environments are the safest way for employees to learn health and safety construction regulations. Learners are able to test their knowledge without being subjected to fear of failure and can revisit any lesson as needed so that knowledge gets committed to their long term memory.
An employee that is confident in their skills and knowledge is a more productive employee. Being able to learn the various processes of a construction project before even getting on-site can help employees streamline their efforts, skills, and knowledge to increase productivity. By accessing online training, employees will feel confident they can carry out their tasks once on site.
If every person on the team has access to the same information learned in the same way, the team is more likely to act as a unit. Online learning will help with streamlining the project processes, which in turn allows your team to become more efficient in their work.
One of the biggest concerns for construction business owners is the rework rate of a project. Proper training is instrumental towards industry standardization. Providing online employee training for your construction workers is proven to lower project rework rates.
Online training can help employees learn how to resolve project conflicts. A good training module will include virtual risk scenarios, like how to properly handle machinery without getting seriously injured. It would also prepare workers for most work-related emergencies, like what to do in case of a fire or if a co-worker gets hurt.
Construction worker training has evolved throughout history and today's modern workforce relies on technology to foolproof construction projects, provide a safer working environment, and cut construction costs. Worker safety and effectiveness are the most important factors in determining the success of a project. As such, prosperous construction companies are looking towards improving L&D for construction workers. To learn more about how virtual training can help your construction business grow get a copy of our eBook, or talk with our team today!