Importance of Health & Safety Training

Have you ever wondered why we need to do health and safety training, and whether it’s even worth doing at all? Well, the simple answer is it helps to prevent the risk of injury – surely that means it’s worth doing?

A Few Statistics

According to the Labour Force Survey, in 2014/15, an estimated 611,000 non-fatal injuries occurred at work. Around 198,000 of these injuries led to over 3 days of absence from over and 152,000 of those led to over 7 days of absence. 76,000 injuries were reported under RIDDOR and 142 workers were killed at work. Provisionally, around half as many workers were fatally injured compared to 20 years ago, meaning that the health and safety practices in the UK, must be working for the numbers to be reducing (just one reason as to why you need health and safety training).

In addition to this, around 27.3 million working days were lost because of work-related ill health or injury. Work-related ill health and injuries has an affect on society as a whole; in 2013/14 they cost society an estimated £14.3 billion – £9.4 billion from illnesses and £4.9 billion from injuries. So, training and preventing risks can save you time and money.

Why Do I Need Training?

So, the statistics weren’t quite enough to convince you that you need to undertake/give health & safety training?

Fostering a positive health and safety culture should be a priority for everyone. Health and safety training helps to develop this ethos within a business, and makes health and safety become second nature to everyone. Undertaking training can help understand and develop how you manage your health and safety; allowing you to make improvements where they’re needed. Both you and your employees will benefit from improved health and safety at work, as it should reduce accidents and occupational ill health. Reducing accidents at work and occupational ill health can also help you financially; you’re not going to have to pay someone when they’re not at work.

What Training Do I Need to Do?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires you to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision is necessary to ensure the health and safety of you and your employees, as far as is reasonably practicable.

Training and techniques will vary depending upon the nature of your work; an office worker isn’t going to require the same training as a tree surgeon. There are different ways that you and your staff could do training:

  • Self study – as simple as reading the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Simple in-house demonstrations and instructions (with supervision)
  • Formal in-house training – performed by a staff member who is competent in the subject
  • Externally provided training – performed by competent, fully qualified people.

There are situations where training is particularly important including: when someone starts work; where there is exposure to new or increased risks; and where existing skills need updating. Providing this training helps to reduce time off ill and prevent low motivation and morale.

Adequate training depends on:

  • Job activity
  • Existing competence of workers
  • Circumstances of the work
  • Work equipment

The required standard of training should aim to ensure the health and safety of your employees and any one else that could be affected, as far as is reasonably practicable.

Who Needs Health & Safety Training?

Pretty much everyone needs health and safety training – everyone wants to be safe at work after all.

Firstly, YOU need health and safety training. If you’re an employer you need to be up to date on all regulations and practices, so you can pass this along to all your staff and utilise your knowledge on site.

If you employ any managers or supervisors, they need health and safety training. This helps them to know what you expect from them in terms of health and safety. It also gives them expectations of how you want health and safety to be put into practice throughout the company.

Your employees also need health and safety training; they need to be made aware of the safe working practices you want running throughout the company. The safer your employees work, the less likely they are to be off work through injury or ill health.

If there is someone you work with who is classed as self-employed for tax and National Insurance purposes, the HSE will treat them as your employee for health and safety purposes. As a result, you need to take the appropriate action to protect them.

Is It Going to Cost a Lot of Money?

We’re not going to lie to you; formal training by a health and safety professional is going to cost you, but it is more than likely to be asked for and required at some point – be it tendering for work or if you’re applying for an accreditation. They’re worth investing in, as it will help to prevent risk of injury in your work place.

In between periods of formal training, you can conduct Toolbox Talks to refresh your employees and your training, and promote your safety culture. These talks don’t have to take up loads of time, but it’s good practice to ask questions at the end and get those who have undertaken the talk to sign it, so you can prove they have received the training.

If you’re unsure of what training you might need, or who you need to provide training for, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0114 244 4461 and we’d be more than happy to offer some advice. We offer training at our offices, or we can come to you. We also have a Toolbox Talks available on our website, to help you top up your training.