In the UK, workplace Health and Safety training is regulated by the Health and Safety Executive. Their guidance states that employers are required by law 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’. This may leave employers unclear on exactly what courses they must, by law, provide, as well as what is advisable within their industry.
Mandatory Health and Safety training
All employers, regardless of their sector or industry, must provide a basic, mandatory level of Health and Safety training. Read our blog ‘What staff training is mandatory and legally required for my business?’ to find out more about the most common Health and Safety training requirements for businesses.
There may be other mandatory training for your industry or sector, so the next step is to refer to any sector-specific guidelines.
It’s important to look beyond the basic level of Health and Safety training in order to protect your employees, your clients and your organisation from risks. This is the trickier bit, because the law largely leaves it in the employer’s hands to determine what is ‘reasonable’, yet when things go wrong, your decisions will fall under scrutiny. For this reason it is vital that you carry out a Health and Safety risk assessment.
Conducting a Health and Safety risk assessment
A risk assessment should take into account any physical risks, such as lifting, screen use, equipment handling, noise, etc. It should also look at any psychological risk factors, such as stress or bullying, and risk of exposure to chemical and biological hazards. At this stage it will be helpful to consult with your employees to find out more about the risks they encounter, and whether there are any gaps in their skills or knowledge.
Once you have identified these risks, consider who is at risk and how, and make a record of your findings. As well as looking at potential future risks, you should also look at past incidents, including near-misses, and ensure there is a process for recording future events of this nature.
It’s also important to ensure there is a clear line of accountability for Health and Safety within your organisation.
Identifying Health and Safety training priorities
Once you have identified any gaps in your employees’ knowledge, you can start to build your Health and Safety training plan. Draw up a list of priorities, based on which skill gaps could result in serious harm to your employees or customers/clients. Then consider those which affect the largest number of people. If there have been any recent changes in the way you operate, or if you have recently recruited new members of staff, you may also want to focus on these areas.
Ensure your Health and Safety training is inclusive
Health and Safety training should be made available within working hours for all employees. This should include remote workers, shift worker and part-time members of staff. In addition, consider any other accessibility issues your workers may have. This could include physical barriers, language barriers or other blockers that make it more difficult to fully benefit from the training on offer.
Work with a trusted Health and Safety training provider
While you may be able to deliver some of your Health and Safety training in-house, it may be necessary to outsource to an experienced provider. Choose a provider who can offer you both industry-specific mandatory courses, and a wider selection based on the gaps you have identified in your risk assessment. Your provider should also be able to tailor the training to suit your business, and to help make training accessible for all of your employees. Here at Knight’s Agency, we provide a wide selection of mandatory training courses as well as specialist training on a range of other topics.
Measure the impact
Once you’ve designed your Health and Safety training strategy, the next step is to ensure it’s working. Testing your employees’ understanding, both before and after the training, and checking recall some time later, will provide useful data that you can use to reshape your future training programmes.
If you’d like to hear more about our training courses, contact us using the form provided here, or call 0207 112 8412 and we’ll respond promptly.