Training employees in Health and Safety matters in the workplace was seen as a time consuming, costly, disruption to operations and business activities: an added expense that brought little benefit to an organisation – an investment without payback.
But that assumption is wrong and has been proven incorrect. Unfortunately, year on year, employees from all kinds of industry are injured through accidents that could so easily have been avoided through a little basic training in health and safety matters.
The benefits of Health and Safety training in the workplace are many, providing benefits for the employer, but more importantly, benefits for the employee – the person most at risk.
A short time spent discussing health and safety matters during employee induction is the best first step towards maintaining a low accident rate and keeping lost man hours through sickness and injury to a minimum. Insurance companies look favourably towards employers who take health and safety matters seriously and premium rates will often reflect this.
Risks Exist in Every Workplace
Employers must follow the rules of the health and safety at work act of 1974 and have a duty of care for employees and all visitors to their work premises. As a consequence, employers must carry out detailed risk assessments of all work areas and processes, and record these findings. Where significant risks are identified measures must be put in place to reduce these risks.
Risk assessments must be recorded with actions agreed to control and minimise identified risks (and in a timely manner). Employees must be made aware of risks and any procedures implemented to ensure personal safety, including the use of personal protective equipment.
Health and Safety Training – The First Step
Many organisations carry out induction training for new employees on the day they start employment, to discuss and impart information not always covered during interview: it is here that very often the company rule book will be issued, with its finer details explained for clarity and understanding. Points covered during induction might include;
- How and when salaries are paid
- Lines of authority and communication
- Explanation of site evacuation procedures
- What to do in the event of sickness
- How to report an accident or near miss incident at work
- Disciplinary procedures
The above list is far from complete – induction training will generally involve a thorough explanation of the employee’s duties and responsibilities, including any associated safety risks.
Checklists are Quick and Easy
Checklists are a quick and easy way to cover relevant health and safety issues at employee induction training – a single A4 sheet containing numerically listed points of interest will often suffice for this purpose.
The company representative carrying out the induction will bring the employee’s attention to relevant health and safety issues, one by one. A health and safety induction record may include some of the following important issues that the employee should be familiar with;
- Site evacuation procedure and muster points
- Risks associated with the employee’s working environment and duties
- Fire precautions and location of fire fighting equipment
- Safe manual handling and use of specific equipment and machinery
- Accident and near miss reporting
- The importance of personal protective equipment
- Any health monitoring carried out by the employer
Again, this list is by no means complete. A health and safety checklist should be compiled with thought and consideration and should include all processes and activities carried out by the employee.
Following review and completion of the induction checklist, the employer should verify the employee understands each and all points discussed – and should sign the document to confirm understanding. This document is important and should be stored in a controlled manner within individual employee files. It could prove an invaluable document at a later date.
Health and Safety Training and E-Learning
Health and safety induction training can be done in-house, but the trainer will need some kind of training in order to adequately and efficiently carry out these important duties. Many organisations will appoint a specialist in health and safety training needs. The trend toward online learning, or e-learning as it is more commonly known, is on the increase due to its flexibility and self driven pace of learning.
Lost man hours, loss of production, and increases in insurance premiums can all result due to neglecting health and safety training in the workplace; litigation and compensation claims could easily arise sometime in the future. Training employees in health and safety at induction is only the first step toward ensuring a safe working environment – it must be maintained.
We provide a wide range of risk management services, including employment law and advice, HR and health & safety consultancy, occupational health & hygiene, web based information management solutions and UKAS accredited certification services and training. For more information, tips and advice on health and safety regulations, browse our blog or give us a call on 02920 852 852.