Pharmaceutical Industry: Is Online Safety Training A Viable Option?

Pharmaceutical Industry: Is Online Safety Training A Viable Option?
Summary: Health hazards, accidents, injuries, death – mere words to an organization until it finally happens; and then these words take on a whole new meaning - lives are lost, cases are filed, jobs are lost, property is destroyed, millions of dollars are spent, costly litigations are begun – the long ordeal begins for the company that would be lucky if it were not unceremoniously shut down at the end of all of this.

Is Online Safety Training A Viable Option For The Pharmaceutical Industry?

While health hazards, accidents, injuries and death are a part of every industry, even a part of our day-to-day lives (for which of us can say with utmost surety that we will live to see another day?) the risks are somewhat greater for the Pharmaceutical Industry. With gasses, reactive chemicals, flammable products, and more just waiting to explode, it wouldn't be a wonder that the employee of the Pharmaceutical Industry feels like a bull in a china shop. In the United States, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has made it mandatory for organizations to conduct safety training to all employees. The question we ask is "Is online safety training a viable option for the Pharmaceutical Industry?"

Methods of Industrial safety training have included pamphlets, lectures, seminars, worksheets and computer programs; while each of these methods has an impact on safety management and proves to be somewhat beneficial in other industries, the Pharmaceutical Industry that boasts of a very unsafe and hazardous working environment - cannot afford the luxury of leaving safety to chance and - would do well to employ only the most successful method of safety training.

In recent years, research has conclusively shown that online learning is the safest, most cost-effective, learner-centric method of deploying safety training courses to Pharmaceutical Industry employees - the reasons go way beyond the fact that online learning (technology-enabled learning) is the latest innovative method – a method that is used globally to train employees.


The most effective method of training is one that engages learners; greater the engagement, greater the effects of training. The effects of poorly engaging training can wear off anywhere between a week to a year by 50%. However, employees can retain knowledge gained from highly engaging training even after a year of training.

Unlike lectures that inundate a learner with information and pamphlets that provide the learner with scanty bits of scattered information, online courses are crisp, to the point, direct, and provide the target audience with the right amount and the right type of information.

Reduced Negativity

Highly effective training reduces negative effects such as accidents by increasing the capacity of the workforce to respond in an appropriate manner to threats and emergency situations, as well as to engage in safe behavior.

Online learning does more than decrease the rate of negative incidents in the pharmaceutical industry – it promotes and increases the adoption of safe work habits and practices and increases the safety knowledge on an individual as well as organizational level.

Active Participation

Effective training must include active participation and involvement of learners to help acquire and retain knowledge and increase their preparedness in case of a disaster. A learning management platform acts as more than a carrier and distributor of courses; it reaches out to employees and provides several opportunities for active participation such as:

  1. Feedback on knowledge gained
  2. A blended-learning approach that allows for learner-instructor interaction
  3. Surveys and polls
  4. Social learning for knowledge collaborate

Hands-on experience in a safe environment

There is no doubt that hands-on experience is the best experience; however, while this thinking holds well in other industries, there is a divided opinion regarding the efficacy and even the ethical nature of hands-on experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry given the hazardous work environment of the industry. Perhaps the most important and significant characteristic of online learning is the fact that it provides successful training and knowledge accumulation in a very safe environment – a very significant necessity for the Pharmaceutical Industry, considering the usage of a large number of basic chemicals - particularly organic chemicals in the production of bulk drugs and drug intermediates in this Industry.


No training can be deemed a failure or a success without the backing of statistics, studies - and most importantly - the opinion of the learners themselves; all of which speak in favor of online learning. Industries are making the shift to online learning; however there are those who wonder if the big move is worth all the brouhaha. For the Pharmaceutical Industry this is reason big enough to make the switch, therefore our conclusion is - yes, online training is a viable option for the Pharma Industry.