Health & Safety Training

12 September 2016

When we talk about health & safety training, there’s a general assumption that it’s not necessary for most employees.

Risks and hazards can happen in any workplace–from construction sites to office spaces. To deal with dangers and protect staff, employers must implement health and safety training.

You are legally required to have H&S policies in place. If you neglect or fail to comply, it may lead to costly fines, business closures, and even imprisonment.

In this guide, we’ll explain what health & safety training is, how to adhere to the law, and why your company needs it.

What is health & safety training?

Health & safety training ensures that employees know how to safely work without any risks to health.

Good health & safety promotes proactive thinking and develops safe habits in your workforce.

Some workers may not have developed these habits yet; either because they are new to the role, or new to the task.

That’s why a clear and consistent training programme is so important, whatever sector you’re in.

When implementing a health & safety programme, there are five steps to address:

  1. Decide what training your organisation needs.
  2. Decide your training priorities.
  3. Choose your training methods and resources.
  4. Choose how to deliver your training.
  5. Evaluate if your training has worked.

Only after following these steps, you will know if your training has worked or not. Evaluating your processes allows you to see, what has been successful and what needs improving.

What are examples of health & safety training?

Having health & safety mandatory training allows employees to develop skills in managing workplace risks.

Health & safety courses can also help them become aware of risks relating to the equipment and practises. And health & safety training online is an efficient way to train remoter workers or apply re-education.

Here are a few examples of health & safety awareness training required in the workplace:

What does the law say about health & safety training?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states you must provide necessary H&S information, instruction, training, and supervision to employees.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 expands on this. It highlights that training is especially important for new employees, and anyone exposed to new or increased risks.

This is reinforced further by the Health and Safety (Training for Employment) Regulations 1990. It protects learners during work experience and requires training on specific risks within their work.

Who needs health & safety training?

Everyone needs regular health & safety training that’s specific to their role.

When you’ve done the same task every day for years, it’s easy to become complacent. We assume they have a level of awareness that others might not have.

But employers must ensure workplace health & safety is protected through competent and reliable management.

One company, a Knowsley-based manufacturer of perimeter protection products, was penalised for the shortcomings of their management’s training.

They had ten Enforcement Notices served on them in just eighteen months, prompting an investigation from the HSE.

They found there was no formal management system in place, and that the managers themselves lacked competence and knowledge of health and safety.

This lack of competence meant that employees were exposed to an alarming number of uncontrolled risks, ranging from welding fumes to unguarded machinery. The company was fined £90,000.

Do self-employed people need H&S training?

Yes, people who are self-employed need health & safety training whilst working under your control and direction.

Before the Health and Safety at Work Act was introduced, it could be said that the UK relied more upon this concept of common sense.

This reliance meant that, on average, 600 people a year died because of workplace safety failings.

More than 40 years later, that number is down to 142 in 2020/21. Part of the reason for this downward trend is mandatory health and safety training.

Knowing the risks that affect you and your workforce makes a real difference in preventing injury and saving lives.

There are further regulations that set out specific training requirements for people in particular roles or carrying out certain tasks.

Risk assessments identify which tasks require qualifications or certification to achieve competence.

How do you manage health & safety training?

Employers need to start by identifying H&S training needs. Prioritise the highest risks in work practises first. Then you should decide who needs training, and in what areas. Here are a few steps you can follow:

  1. Choose your training methods, and tailor the training to your needs. Identify what will be most effective for your workforce.
  2. Once the training is complete, you need an ongoing commitment to check that the training is working. Evaluate knowledge in the short term and monitor behaviours in the long term.
  3. Review your training needs regularly, to keep track of who is competent and who needs a refresher course.
  4. Providing open opportunities for training gives employees motivation to stay proactive and safety-minded.
  5. Finally, don’t forget that managers and supervisors must be aware of their responsibilities.

Get advice on health & safety training with Peninsula

To get the best out of health & safety training, you should identify your employees’ skills and expertise.

Compare these against current skills and expertise to see what training is needed. Make sure you carry out your own risk assessment for training or you could receive a hefty fine.

Peninsula’s team of experts are available 24/7 to give health & safety advice and discuss the problems you might be having.

Get in touch today, or use our callback form to arrange for us to get in touch at a time that is convenient for you. Call us on 0800 028 2420

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