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Which is Best? Onsite or Public WHS Training?

Recent feedback from our trainers has again highlighted the fact that clients and onsite course attendees get the most enjoyment and satisfaction from doing practical exercises about real situations and work systems in their workplace. This is perhaps not surprising. (Imagine the buzz a trainee pilot gets from flying and landing a plane for the first time.)

Training in real situations, the actual location and physical environment – it all helps boost the reality, relevance, retention and application of the course information for the attendee. It is a major advantage that onsite training has over public course training.

Onsite training has some obvious advantages but that does not mean it is the best in all situations. This article lists and considers the advantages of public and onsite training so that you can compare or perhaps use sometime to assist your decision-making.

Which form of WHS training do you think is the best for your employees? Is it onsite WHS training with only your employees present, or training at a public venue with attendees from various other industries and workplaces?

Onsite Training

The advantages of training your staff onsite instead of at a public venue include:

  • It enables you to instruct the trainer to tailor the training and practical activities to handle the particular problems and needs of your attendees in your workplace. So you get results that are focussed on matters that are most important in your workplace.

  • Training together on your premises helps to ensure that attendees work together to address all WHS compliance matters of particular concern in your work environment.

  • Practical exercises can be done in the real time and real physical environment of your workplace. It is well established that this greatly enhances understanding, retention and application of learning.

  • It provides the opportunity for your attendees to review and improve their understanding of the relevance of your organisation’s WHS documentation with the skilled guidance of the Trainer.

  • If your attendees are a team, group or have to interact regularly in the process of production or delivering services then it is important that they do WHS training together. It helps to boost their awareness, understanding and co-operation on WHS needs and processes. The group or team is stronger and more aligned to achieve compliance with WHS requirements.

  • It helps to equip each of your attendees with the why and know-how of the particular actions they need to take in their area of the workplace to satisfy their WHS duty of care including the WHS compliance responsibilities that go with their role.

WHS Training at a Public Venue

The advantages of WHS training at a public venue includes:

  • You can get small numbers of your employees trained when you don’t have enough attendees to make onsite training worthwhile eg. training for small numbers of your Health & Safety Representatives or Health & Safety Committee Members or first aid training and so on.

  • Workers who are not available on the day(s) you have training onsite can attend a course at a public venue.

  • By training at a public course with other attendees from different industries and workplaces your attendees can get a broader view and depth of the application of WHS and the systems that other industries and workplaces use to manage health and safety. And this may assist problem solving in your workplace.

  • One of your workers attending a public course and learning and doing practical exercises together with others can enhance their understanding and application of WHS. But if you send two or more attendees to the course that level of understanding and application is magnified and reinforced regarding their workplace.

Both onsite and public venue training have their advantages and it is a matter of addressing each situation as it arises and working out how you can get the best result for your WHS compliance needs and budget.

Section 19 of the WHS Act is a good benchmark of what you are aiming for – to do everything “reasonably practicable” to ensure the health and safety of everyone in your workplace.

3rd July 2018 revised 22 October 2019

You are welcome to download and distribute the article in your workplace if you feel it may be useful


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