John Hinds http://www.lojix.co.uk 3m 661
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Each year, over 200 people are killed at work. In addition, millions more are injured and suffer ill health because of the work that they do. Accidents and illness caused at work can be costly for a business. Not only can a business be liable for any injury or ill health suffered by an employee or contractor, but also accidents and work related illnesses result in many millions of lost hours across nearly all industries.
It is in a business’s best interest to ensure that adequate health and safety training is conducted in an effort to minimise the risk of potential accidents and illnesses suffered at work. In addition, health and safety training is a legal obligation and failing to provide adequate provision could result in liability for any accidents or injuries, and in some cases, may even result in criminal prosecution.
Effective health and safety training
There is more to providing health and safety training than simply providing a quick induction course for new workers. Health and safety training should be ongoing, with more experienced workers offered refresher courses and all employees adopting a positive health and safety culture. In law, all businesses are responsible for the health and safety of their employees and have to provide: “information, instruction and training to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health & safety of your employees.”
The main purpose of health and safety training is to ensure everyone who works for a business, including any contractors and self-employed people working on a business’s premises have information on any hazards and risks they face during the purpose of their work, what measures are in place to deal with such hazards, and what the emergency procedures are in the event of an incident.
Health and safety training may have to be tailored to the needs of specific individuals. For instance, new recruits may require a comprehensive training course, while employees changing roles may need updated health and safety training to ensure they know the risks associated with their new job. In addition, young and inexperienced employees are statistically more likely to have accidents so may require more training and guidance than older workers. Even home workers need to be included in health and safety training as they could still be injured or become ill conducting work for you at home.
When it comes to health and safety, different work related activities pose different risks, so health and safety training has to be bespoke to the business in question. Because of this, each business has to draw up a health and safety policy and training regime that fit the individual needs of that business. The best way to start is to think about the risks and hazards involved in each role throughout the business, what potential accidents could occur and the severity of injuries or illness that could be caused by any of these hazards. For effective health and safety training, most businesses find it worthwhile to speak to employees about the risks they perceive, as these people are likely to have more understanding than managers do of the different risks and hazards they face on a day-to-day basis.
When it comes to conducting health and safety training, most business designate a particular health and safety officer, whose responsibility is to understand all the risks and hazards around the business, and come up with solutions to minimise risks. In addition, this person should be responsible for making sure all workers abide by the health and safety policies in the business and are the person employees can go to whenever somebody notices something that may affect the safety or health of others. For businesses with more than five employees, it is a requirement in law to have a written health and safety policy, which should be made available to everybody employed by the company.
John Hinds writes for Lojix. His interests include blogging, reading, playing tennis, listening to music and traveling.