Workplace Health Without Borders (WHWB) partnered with OSHAfrica, University of Brasilia, IOHA, BECOH and the OHTA to provide training in an alternative fashion.
The pandemic has caused us to rethink our approach to training, often moving to 100% online due to the pandemic’s travel constraints. Using both synchronous (together) and asynchronous (on your own time) training, WHWB delivered a new integrated learning experience for OHTA’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Awareness class to 48 participants from 17 countries.
Two WHWB Board members were instrumental in this change, Dr. Vanessa Cruvinel, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil and Mr. Ehi Iden, Executive Director OSHAfrica, Lagos, Nigeria. The course material had been only available in English. WHWB has members who speak various languages, so we asked for their help in teaching or finding instructors for the OHTA’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Awareness class, using Zoom.
The student would study the online training material provided in English at their own pace. Tutorials were held in the language of the participants, covering a specific portion of the online course. Tutors held weekly question and answer sessions which kept the training fresh and interactive. The OHS Awareness course cost $50 USD. To help with the cost while improving commitment to taking a free course, scholarships were offered. Another Board member, Steven Verpaele, President of the Belgian Center for Occupational Hygiene (BeCOH), provided the scholarships. The training course was offered in French, Portuguese and English.
The training started February 15th. Students could start studying whenever they had time. This pilot course had four tutorial sessions for each group and ended March 18th with a wrap-up session with instructions for the final exam and course evaluation. The course evaluation is two-pronged. One is to ask about the online material. The other is to ask about the process using the synchronous/asynchronous teaching tutorials in their language and asking them, “How will you use this training?”
The people came from very diverse backgrounds, such as from an investment group, national park service, human resources and more traditional OHS backgrounds such as mining and oil and gas.
WHWB will continue to fine-tune this method of training, much of which could continue post-pandemic.
 OSHAfrica: Occupational Safety and Health Africa; https://oshafrica.africa; Mr. Ehi Iden, Executive Director, WHWB Board member,
 University of Brasilia, Brazil, Dr. Vanessa Cruvinel, Professor of Epidemiology, WHWB Board member,
 IOHA: International Occupational Health Association, https://www.ioha.net
 OHTA: Occupational Health Training Association: https://ohtatraining.org