News & Views

Do we really train safely?

DC
BY Douglas Cameron
Health & Safety
BG Orange

Having completed a coaching session with clients, I was asked what actual safety training is and how is it measured for compliance?

In my view training means helping people to learn how to do something, telling people what they should or should not do, or simply giving them information. Training should not be always considered as formal ‘classroom’ courses.

Safety training should ensure that people know how to work safely and without risks to health and where working safely becomes second nature to everyone. Effective training contributes towards making your employees competent and avoid the distress that accidents and ill health cause.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires you to provide whatever 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, expanded by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which identify situations where health and safety training is particularly important, e.g. when people start work, on exposure to new or increased risks and where existing skills may have become rusty or need updating.

Like many employers, you may not be in a position to provide this training on your own, in which case you will need competent help.

There are a number of other regulations that include specific health and safety training requirements, e.g. Asbestos, CoSHH, First Aid, Working At Heights.

Managers or supervisors need to know what you expect from them in terms safety training and how you expect them to deliver. They need to understand your health and safety policy, where they fit in, and how you want health and safety managed.

They may also need training in the specific hazards of your processes and how you expect the risks to be controlled.

We should take into account the capabilities, training, knowledge and experience of workers and ensure that the demands of the job do not exceed their ability to carry out their work without risk to themselves and others.

Some employees may have particular training needs, for example new recruits need basic induction training into how to work safely, including arrangements for first aid, fire and evacuation. People changing jobs or taking on extra responsibilities need to know about any new health and safety implications. Young employees are particularly vulnerable to accidents and you need to pay particular attention to their needs, so their training should be a priority. It is also important that new, inexperienced or young employees are adequately supervised. 

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