Making Sure Your Employees Have the Correct Health and Safety Training

Employees Health and Safety Training

As an employer health and safety should always be a top priority, and a vital part of doing so is making sure that every employee has the necessary training.

The importance of health and safety is more apparent than ever before. Organisations and business owners can quickly come under the scrutiny of governing bodies if they show signs of poor H&S practices. Not only is it important for companies to adopt a high-stand of safety in the workplace, but it’s vital to know exactly what training your employees need.

Start Off by Evaluating Your Own H&S Training

Before we get started on your employee’s training requirements, it’s essential to recognise whether you, the business owner, have up to date health and safety training relevant to your operations.

Obviously, you don’t make the rules with regards to health and safety, but it’s your job as the owner to enforce them. If you’re not sure on some of the safety requirements in your workplace, then it might be worth discussing this with a health and safety consultant. Doing so will ensure that you are only doing what is required, awareness and better knowledge of any new or updated regulations, which in turn allow you more confidently ensure appropriate training for your employees.

What Specific Training  Does Your Workplace Require?

Every workplace is different, meaning that your health and safety requirements will vary depending on the industry you’re part of. Companies that work with large machinery or hazardous substances will have different training needs to those who work predominantly in an office.

Risk assessments is a key training requirements that will give you and your employees a better idea of the specific aspects of the job, equipment, or areas of the workplace that could pose risks and require appropriate and proportionate controls to mitigate these risks. You will also be providing your staff with the right training to work safely.

In recent years, there’s been a lot of focus on the health and safety of employees who spend a lot of time sat down, or in front of a computer. It may not seem like much of a risk to some people, but working safely is crucial to the effectiveness of your business. If you have employees in this type of position, then you need them to be trained accordingly.

Establish Training Priorities

By law, some workplaces are required to carry out specific health and safety training based on the hazards posed at work.  For example, all workplaces are required to have appropriate first aid provision to deal with first aid incidents.  However, not all workplaces will need staff either trained as (Emergency First Aid at Work (1 Day) or First Aid at Work (3 Days)).  Knowing your business will allow a decision to be made on the type of first-aid training that is required.  If this is the case then, of course, this should be on your list, as you’ll be breaking the law if you ignore the training.

If your workplace has certain areas, like a workshop or warehouse, where improper training could lead to serious injury or even death – then there’s no doubt this should be a priority.

New employees or current employees who’re changing job roles or responsibilities should also be a priority. This is where new employee induction training would be an essential requirement.  

Decide Which Training Method is Suitable

When it comes to health and safety, there are a few training options depending on what needs to be covered and whether it’s basic or more advanced.

For training that’s specific to your workplace and equipment, it may be more beneficial to provide “on the job” coaching to demonstrate how work should be carried out. Another option would be a classroom approach, where you set up your employees in a room and either use course materials or bring in an H&S specialist to give them the necessary guidance.

Some health and safety courses, such as first-aid, tend to be held at a local college. This can either be just one day or, for more in-depth training, over a few days. Employees will need to learn basic first-aid training, but if they work in a job where there are specific hazards (burns, chemicals, etc.), then they’ll need to learn how to deal with them as well.

Another type of training method that is proving very beneficial and cost effective is online training.  Employees are able to learn at their own pace and more importantly, they can go back to look at the information again and again as a reminder of key principles.

Make Sure the Training Has Worked

No, don’t set the building on fire and see how your employees respond. But it’s crucial to make sure that they have taken in everything they’ve learnt and that they can now use it practically in the workplace.

Yes, they may have passed a course or got a qualification, but as a business owner it’s essential to make sure that they understand what the procedures are and, more importantly, what’s expected of them.

Rounding up your employees for a refresher will be an ideal way of testing them on what they learnt or may have forgotten in a casual, pressure-free situation. This will also be a good time to get some feedback from them on the way the company’s H&S training was carried out, and if you could be doing anything to improve it.

The safety of employees is a top priority, and it’s something that will always be at risk without the right training. No matter what industry you’re based in, there’s always the potential for hazards. Not only can this lead to injuries, illness, or damage to property —  all of which can cost a company a lot of money, and leave you liable to a lawsuit — not only is H&S crucial for looking after your employees, but it’s also good for your business a whole.

Ray Howlett, Director of Howlett Health & Safety Services. He has over 25 years of experience in the occupational health and safety. Ray offers health & safety advice, training, audits, risk assessment, and support to small to medium sized businesses.


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