Health and Safety Training: It’s Your Choice
Every business has a legal ‘duty of care’ to look after the health and safety of employees
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires you to provide whatever training is necessary to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of your employees.
Health and safety training is particularly important when people start work, on exposure to new or increased risks and where existing skills may have become rusty or need updating.
Guidelines state that you must provide training during working hours and not at the expense of your employees. Remember that special arrangements may be needed for part-timers or shift workers. You need to assess the risks to your employees while they are at work and identify the measures you need to take to comply with health and safety law, which includes training and the provision of information.
The HSE states that there are still over 1 million work injuries every year, so the question has to be asked – ‘could this figure be less if staff were better trained?’
David Adams of The Health and Safety Group is a seasoned trainer and has worked for a number of industries delivering Safety Training to employees. He says in his experience the secret to successful safety training is to ensure it is:
Relevant, Affordable and Accessible
“My role is to provide ‘job related’ skills on subjects that are ‘risk related’. With budgets being continually challenged there is no place for ineffective training” says David “but costs can be controlled with the right strategy”.
“Flexibility for delivering training is key. I also think that a lot of people forget that the choice of training is in our hands. The HSE openly invites industry to choose the most effective type for our own purposes, so I try to use that to full effect”.
David explores some popular formats of health and safety training:-
“Whilst Classroom Training is comprehensive and thorough, I believe higher impact courses deliver better results. That is to say we try to fit in core content into three hour sessions and usually in the mornings. It certainly gets past the post lunch slump!” says David.
“I try to support in-house training as much as possible but many companies need a reliable outsource, this can really help through the peak training seasons”.
David’s watch-outs for classroom training:
- Full day classroom training can be very costly, taking a number of people out of the business can cost anything from £100 per person per course. This may not be practical.
- Some trainees say that one day courses are just too lengthy and often too dull. A large chunk of the information they receive may not be deemed relevant.
- Classroom training only occurs periodically. Are you going to allow staff to work untrained while they wait to get on a course?
On-Line Training Sources
“You can usually find a whole range of on-line training on the web and on CD format but I find that these are better for induction. Although some of these courses claim to be interactive beware that trainees can get very blasé about online training. It can get to a stage where staff simply ‘go through the motions’, never underestimate the human touch!”
“I find Training DVDs and Booklets make learning easier as well as more cost effective. These usually include induction information as well as a good variety of key safety essentials. I like these materials as they can deliver safety information quickly and at different levels, they also support my in-house training, particularly in specialised areas such as manual handling”.
David’s advice is to make health and safety training as varied and as colourful as possible. Whatever the subject, training can get boring, so freshening it up with a variety of training materials can make all the difference.