Why safety training then?
Accidents and ill health are real in the workplace today. Whilst the UK leads the way in worker safety and rights, people are still dying at work and hundreds of thousands of workplace injuries happen every year. Tens of millions of days each year are lost to work related illnesses and accidents. So, it’s a real problem from a financial and moral point of view.
Ensuring safe and healthy working should be a must do action for everyone in the workplace.
The way you approach health and safety training speaks volumes about your business, your values and your professionalism.
What about the Law in all of this….what have I got to do?
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (HSWA) 1974 (Section 2) 3 requires every employer to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision is necessary to ensure, “so far as is reasonably practicable”. Other regulations that specify that you must train, instruct and inform / communicate with your staff and key people within that team are:
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) 1999 4, which also looks at where health and safety training of really important, like when people are starting work with you, or are perhaps learning new skills or exposed to new procedures, equipment and ultimately risk. It also looks at keeping staff updated – so that the key information is fresh in their minds.
- The Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 5 and the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 6 require you to consult your employees, or their representatives, on health and safety issues and this includes matters such as health and safety training. Training has to be paid for by the employer and organised in working time.
- The RRO (Fire 2005) also is quite specific in relation to ensuring that competent people have the skills and information that they need.
If you look at any key area of health and safety – Asbestos, Hazard substances, Working at Height, Noise, Dust, Display Screen Equipment, Confined Spaces and many, many more – all the specific regulations will say that you must train, instruct and inform (communicate with) your staff where an identifiable risk is present. There are many other hazards and associated risks within the workplace, but here are 8 of the more prevalent ones to most businesses.
The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations more and more businesses are waking up to the issues and dangers that asbestos within their premises or work environment. Simple awareness training is available online and is a great way to help to keep your staff and others safe from the dangers of exposure to asbestos.
- First aid
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations Always a must and a legal requirement for all businesses. Make sure that you have suitably qualified people – first do a first aid risk assessment to identify what your company needs.
- Display screen equipment
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations (DSE Regs) Sometimes seen as a bit of a soft hazard ‘its only sitting infront of a computer screen, its not going to harm you’….has been said to me. Well, long term injuries and conditions can be borne out by doing just that. Training is key to this – getting your staff to understand the dangers and know how they can overcome them. Prevention is always better than cure.
- Substances hazardous to health
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regs (COSHH) We can use substances in our jobs to a varying degree from acids and extremely volatile substances through to general cleaning products. Knowing what to do in the case of harm, how to identify issues and keep yourself and others safe is the key driver on this. Training is the way to do this – knowing your substances and how to make sure that you use them safely.
- Falls from Height
Working at Height Regulations Falls from height account for the largest proportion of workplace fatalities in the UK. People still take chances with the wrong equipment, the wrong or insufficient PPE and poor or lack of training. Training and information are key to making sure that anyone working at height understands the dangers and what they or an employer needs to do to protect them.
- Fire precautions
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 Fire is something that we generally think will happen to someone else. The RRO tells us what we need to do to protect ourselves, buildings, visitors, contractors and others from the dangers of fire. One of the most important areas is training and instruction. Fire marshals need to be appointed and trained….staff need to be trained as to the dangers and what they need to do in case of an incident. Fire prevention relies on trained people to do the right thing.
- Manual handling
Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHO Regs) Its only a bad back! Well you only have one body – so look after it, eh? We all can lift, lower, push or pull items…but very often we do it badly and therefore put ourselves at risk. Manual Handling training is really important…often it’s a ‘light bulb’ moment for people who go on courses…as many are oblivious to the dangers and long term harm they can do to themselves and others, until its pointed out to them in a training course.
There are load of other hazards that we might need to consider but these are perhaps a magnificent 7…..training is available on all these subjects online from HSM.