Near Or Far: Should You Choose On-Site Or Off-Site First Aid Training For Your Workforce?

Having your employees trained in essential first aid techniques can (quite literally) be a lifesaver for your business, and in many cases having at least some of your workforce trained in these life saving techniques is a legal requirement. As such, you will want to ensure that your employees recieve the most effective and efficient training possible, and to achieve that you will have to decide where you want the training to take place.

Some companies that offer accredited first aid training courses operate from a dedicated training building, while others will send training personnel to your business premises to conduct training courses there. Some companies offer both these options, and choosing which option is best for your employees and your business can be more difficult than you might think. On-site and off-site training both come with their own advantages and disadvantages, so ensure that the training type you choose is most suitable for your business needs before you invest in a course.

What are the pros and cons of choosing on-site training?

The aim of first aid training is to prepare your staff for medical emergencies that they may encounter while on the job, so it stands to reason that on-site training is the best option for familiarising workers with first aid situations on your premises. By having your first aid training conducted in an area your employees are familiar with, you ensure that they become comfortable with using the first aid facilities they will be expected to utilise in a real emergency. If your business deals with unusual objects and substances that can cause accidents if mishandled (such as corrosive liquids and heavy loads), on-site training is the best way to prepare your staff for medical emergencies involving these unique hazards.

Choosing on-site training also has other advantages; for one, it ensures that your workforce actually turns up for their training sessions. Conducting courses in a familiar areas reduces the likelihood of non-attendance due to illnesses or your employees simply getting lost on the way there, and sidesteps the long commutes that off-site training can entail. 

However, on-site training also takes valuable space and time away from your business, and can distract employees who aren't currently being trained. Any downtime your business suffers as a result of on-site training should be taken into account, and can dramatically inflate the price of on-site training courses in real terms. You should also establish beforehand whether your business actually has a safe, suitable space to conduct training in -- more dangerous businesses, such as manufacturing and industrial concerns, may have to choose off-site training to ensure safety.

What are the pros and cons of choosing off-site training?

Having your employees trained in a dedicated off-site facility takes a little more organisation, but the advantages of off-site training can make this extra effort well worth it. Dedicated training facilities have all the equipment and staff needed to give your employees the very best training, and allows trainers to conduct courses in a safe, distraction-free environment where your employees can get the most from them.

Off-site training is also ideally suited to larger businesses operating in disparate areas, or businesses where a significant proportion of the staff telecommute or work from home. In these cases, gathering employees from their many and varied working locations to a centralised training area can be much easier than hauling everybody into the office, especially if your premises are somewhat limited in space and size.

Unfortunately, these advantages come at a price, and the extra facilities and amenities offered by off-site training courses tend to make them more expensive than on-site equivalents. You should also take account of travelling expenses, which can become prohibitively expensive if many employees have to commute a long distance to reach a training centre.