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Your legal obligation to give employees health and safety training

Posted: Tue, 28 Nov 2017 11:46

Did you know that, as an employer, you have a legal duty to give employees health and safety training that covers all the risks they face at work?

Many recent health and safety breaches (and several massive fines) suggest that employers are frequently failing to properly comply with this requirement. Time after time, investigators find that employee training is inadequate, out of date, or just never delivered. Gaps in training lead to accidents, life-changing injuries, and even death.

The 'Health and Safety at Work Act' defines employers' responsibilities when it comes to training, stating that employers must provide "such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is practicable, the health and safety at work of their employees".

As you can see, this is a potentially wide-ranging requirement, depending on the nature of your employees' work. The onus is on employers to evaluate the risks faced by employees, and then provide suitable training.

What does good health and safety training look like? This depends on the job, but general principles of good practice include:

Informative and practical. Help employees know how to work safely. Classroom sessions may not be the most effective and efficient way to drive home important messages about safety.

Contribute to a culture of safe and healthy working. Safe working should be the default mode. It may be helpful to focus on training line managers so that health and safety is valued by everyone in your organisation from the top down.

Comprehensive. Training should cover all the key risks to health and safety that your employees face.

Bespoke. It's no good having off-the-shelf training if it doesn't cover all the risks in your workplace.

Monitored. Health and safety training is not a one-off project. It should be part of a wider health and safety system. Training should be topped up periodically, revised over time and reviewed to ensure any new risks are covered.

For all. Your health and safety training should cover apprentices, trainees, self-employed contractors and work experience visitors.

Reviewed. Don't just deliver training. Make sure it has worked. Monitor employees at work and check that safety practices are being adhered to.

As you can see, health and safety training should not be a box-ticking exercise. Unless you want to take risks with your employees' health, and possibly incur a crippling fine.

Training should never be just about avoiding accidents and preventing harm. By caring for your employees, you can reduce workplace stress while demonstrating to your teams that everyone is valued and supported.

Talk to DeltaNet about creating bespoke health and safety training for your people. Our training is online, making it easy to provide to your employees wherever they work.

Tags: Compliance, eLearning, Health and Safety, legal obligations, health and safety law, online training