The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires you to provide “information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of your employees.”
So what does that mean? As an employer, you need to make sure that your employees can carry out their jobs safely and training is a key element of this. They need to know what to do, what not to do and how to do it safely.
The first step is to decide what training the members of your organisation need. Create a training matrix so you can review the current skills that your employees and colleagues have and compare it to the skills they need for their job, then determine whether or not there are gaps in their skills and training.
Review your risk assessments, they may include training as control measures.
Some training such as fire awareness may need to be completed by all employees whilst others may be specific to the job they do. For example your cleaners may need additional training in the use of hazardous substances, whilst their colleagues in the office may need training to carry out a display screen equipment assessment.
Review your accidents and near miss records and look for patterns. For example, do you have several incidents related to lifting and carrying? If so as part of reviewing your overall procedures you may identify the need for manual handling training.
You may not be able to implement all the training straight away, prioritise workers where the lack of training could result in the most significant harm and courses that will benefit the most number of people.
Deciding what training you need, who should have it and how it can be delivered can be a difficult task and employers often find it hard to balance the cost of training with necessity of it to the business.
Remember training doesn’t always have to be in a formal classroom setting, it can include tool-box talks, online courses, new starter inductions or the on the job coaching, whatever is appropriate for the training required.
You need to ensure the training is suitable for every person taking part. Ensure that employees who have learning difficulties, are disabled or are non-English speakers receive the information in a way that’s suitable for them.
If you complete in-house training, make sure you keep a record. Keep a copy of the information given at the session and ask your employees to sign a register to evidence they have attended.
Fresher training should be arranged as necessary, keep your training matrix up to date and use this to ensure everyone is trained appropriately. If a person changes roles their training requirements will need to be reviewed and updated, again record this in your training matrix.
Once your training is in place, keep it under review. Review your accident records, have there been any changes in the number of incidents? Ensure that your employees are following the training they have received, if they are not complying consider the effectiveness of the training as well as considering your HR options.
Health and safety training must be completed during work hours and not be at the expense of your employees. It also cannot be arranged as a ‘training agreement’ where employees are required to pay back a proportion of the cost if they leave the business within a set period of time.
Training is a key component of making sure you keep your workplace safe. It may not always be the case that a risk can be completely eliminated within a business but proper training, supervision and risk assessment shows that a company has done everything that is reasonably practicable to make sure that risks are being controlled.
The Avensure health and safety advice line is available to answer your health and safety training queries big or small. We also provide a range of online training courses in various subjects that could form part of your employee training.