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Health & Safety Training

It’s necessary for employers to equip their employees with the tools, knowledge and equipment to do their jobs safely. HSE are the governing body that oversee and advise on appropriate health and safety training to make sure that employers are in a position to do that. But it is up to the employer to decide who needs training, what form the training will be in, and when to refresh it.

Why is health and safety training important?

Health and safety training is important because it can ensure that the people that you work with know how to work safely, in a way that minimises risk. 


As well as organised training, be sure to develop a proactive company culture around safety so that problems are never exacerbated. Workers should understand and feel comfortable reporting health and safety issues as they arise and before an incident occurs.


Remember that health and safety is a necessary legal requirement, and it helps to make employees competent workers, as well as helping to avoid accidents and fatalities at work – and the distress and costs that this could incur. 


Health and safety and the law

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires that information, instruction, training and supervision be provided to ensure the health and safety of your employees at work.


Using the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 as a guideline, it is possible to identify situations where health and safety training is important like when people start work, exposure to risk or when skills need updating.


Before you undertake the training, consider whether you need to employ help to aid you in the training. The HSE leaflet ‘Getting specialist help with health and safety is a good place to start.

What should health and safety training include?

It’s important to show your commitment to the training so that employees understand why the training is important. Consult your employees or union representatives on the planning and organisation of the training so that it covers all topics that are needed. Be sure to prioritise and plan the training around the specific needs of your business.


Decide what training is most appropriate

Decide how you will approach the training by identifying the skills and knowledge needed to do jobs in a safe way – what are the gaps in people’s knowledge, and how can they be best addressed?


You should also review the company’s previous experience of injuries or ill health and look at risk assessments to see where info or training have been identified as factors. Consider awareness training for everyone. Look at:

  • How you manage health and safety
  • Who is responsible?
  • How to identify hazards and evaluate risks
  • The hazards encountered and measures for controlling them


Decide what to focus on

Priorities should be on lifesaving first aid training. Choose responsible people who have shown an interest in being a first aider as they will be more confident and invested when it comes to using their skills.


Health and safety training should be given to those who are new to the business or who lack information for any other reason. Workers who regularly use specialist equipment or PPE in the workplace should also be regularly trained.


Businesses should also look at training methods that will benefit the largest amount of staff at once, for example, on-the-job training with small groups or a presentation and quiz in a large conference space.


Deliver the training

Choose how to do the training: is the job information adequate? Or do workers require training in the classroom or computer-based or interactive learning to really cement the information?


Whatever method you choose, make sure that the information is delivered in a way that is easy to process in a session that is engaging and interesting. A variety of training methods can be used to deliver the message: group work, case studies and role-playing are all great ways to cement knowledge.


Later, check that the training has worked. Do employees understand the concept, and are people working as they have been trained to work?


Health and safety training during COVID-19

As businesses around the country go back to work, health and safety should be stepped up to introduce and manage the new risks posed by COVID-19 and how to deal with them. Once back at work, employees should be trained on how to operate in a socially distanced way, and how they should make the most of the new safety features that are likely to be in place around the workplace. 

That might involve explaining the proper use of hand sanitiser stations, face masks or face shields, and other infection control equipment. Other new elements of the workplace, like signage for social distancing and restroom capacity, should also be explained.


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