August 28, 2014

It’s time for a Health & Safety refresher course

It’s almost start of the academic year – a timely reminder for organisations to consider carrying out a review of their health and safety training.

With all the Health & Safety legislation changes that take place in short space of time, it’s almost important for both and employers and employees to think about refresher training course…

The law

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.

This is expanded by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which identify situations where health and safety training is particularly important, eg when people start work, on exposure to new or increased risks and where existing skills may have become rusty or need updating.

It is also worth remembering that if a person working under your control and direction is treated as self-employed for tax and national insurance purposes, they may nevertheless be treated as your employee for health and safety purposes.

You need, therefore, to take appropriate action to protect them. Where do we begin in identifying refresher / training needs we have already established the WHY we need to train, the next steps is to establish

Who needs to be trained? Decide which:

  • Employees
  • Managers
  • Part time employees

What training is required?

  • Decide what training your organisation needs
  • Decide your training priorities

When?

  • Do we carry out annual review of training?
  • Initial training on new equipment changes in operational procedures
  • New employees

How and included in this HOW much will it cost?

  • In house / external
  • Relevance
  • Value for money
  • Course content

WHO do we train?

It is often a case that the most senior responsible person in the organisation has the least training in health and safety.

It is also the case where they have received training they never or at least hardly ever have refresher training, due to over work no time I have some one doing  it for me just some of the reasons used not to undertake refresher training.

Whether you are an employer or self-employed, are you sure that you’re up to date with how to identify the hazards and control the risks from your work?

Do you know what you have to do about consulting your employees, or their representatives, on health and safety issues? Health and safety legislation may well have changed since you last did training

This may also be the case for your management supervisory team if you employ managers or supervisors they need to know what you expect from them in terms of health and safety, 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 management of specific hazards of your processes and how you expect health and safety risks to be controlled.

Everyone who works for you, including self-employed people, needs to know how to work safely and without risks to health.

Like your managers & supervisors, employees also need to know about your health and safety policy, your arrangements for implementing it, and the part they play. They also need to know how they can raise any health and safety concerns with you.

What for?

By providing training it will show your commitment to health and safety Staff no matter what level in the organisation recognises that training is important.

By consulting with your management, employees or their representatives looking at your risk assessments accident / incident reports to see where training may have been identified as factors which could help in controlling risks.

Part of the”what training” must include refresher training areas of example may include:

  • First aider
  • Fork lift Truck
  • Specific work related occupational requirements etc.

An employee’s competence will decline if skills are not used regularly eg in emergency procedures operating a particular piece of equipment Training therefore needs to be repeated periodically to ensure continued competence.

This will be particularly important for employees who occasionally deputise for others, home workers and mobile employees.

How much?

Any training sessions have to start with cost relevance and delivery the law requires management to resource and fund health and safety training.

Section 9 of the HSW Act prohibits employers from charging employees for anything they have to do or are required to do in respect of carrying out specific requirements of the relevant statutory provisions. The requirement to provide health and safety training is such a provision.

We need to ensure that the training we want is relevant and the content of the delivery and the provider is  value for money.

Ensure  the training  information is relevant to the delegates and try to use a variety of training methods to deliver your message.

Check that the training has worked:

  • Do your employees understand what you require of them?
  • Do they now have the knowledge and skills needed to work safely and without risk to health?
  • Are they actually working as they have been trained to?
  • Has there been any improvement in your organisation’s health and safety performance?
  • What feedback are you getting from line managers and the people who have been trained?
  • Are further information and/or training needed?
  • Was the most suitable training method used?
  • What improvements can be made?
  • Has there been a change in behaviour and practice?
  • It can help you manage training if you keep records, even if it is in-house training.
  • You should monitor training records so that refresher training can be given when needed.

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About the author

Stacey Rowe