26th May 2010

INFORMATION
UPDATE

 Issue No.  2010/15

 Sentient
              

 

  HEALTH & SAFETY TRAINING – 
EMPLOYERS DUTIES

Training, training, training - do we have to keep going on about it?  Well yes we do.  Despite it being one of the things which suffer most when times are hard, lack of training is still one of the main reasons why accidents happen and why businesses get prosecuted or have to pay out hefty compensation claims.  
 
WHAT EMPLOYERS MUST DO
 
All employers must, by law, make sure employees are provided with enough information and training such that they are able to carry out their duties competently and with minimum risk of causing harm to themselves or others.  So what choices can you make?
 
Choice of Courses
  • Induction for new starters and staff changing jobs internally.  How effective is your induction?  Ask yourself if you really do cover safety aspects of the workplace or is it simply a mention that the fire alarm goes off on Monday morning, where the toilets are and what time tea breaks can be taken?  Induction training takes time and is not necessarily easy, but it is an essential first step.
  • Formal certificated courses will in certain areas be mandatory.  In others, making sure that all your staff have the competence they need to do their job safely or to manage and supervise others by putting together bespoke training will be sufficient.
  • Job specific training. You need to know that work equipment can be used and work systems followed without risk.  Do you have, or do you need specific job instructions or equipment operating procedures which set down how a task is to be performed, and importantly, how it will be done safely? 
Identifying Health & Safety Training Needs
Your risk assessments should have identified specific health or safety training needs.  Some training, on use of machinery for example, will be on a one to one basis but for other topics group courses will be suitable.  You will be best placed to do the one to one training but specialist training skills may be better for group courses.
 
There are differing needs for group training all of which should reflect the needs of particular jobs.  Starting at the top, a Directors briefing will make sure those running the business are aware of their responsibilities.  A short breakfast session is often seen as a good way to do this.
 
Health & Safety Training from the Top Down
Directors, Managers and supervisors have a range of options from short awareness courses to fully certificated three and five day health & safety supervision and management courses.  These courses make sure those in the business or organisation with responsibilities for health & safety fully understand their role.  In addition some staff should be trained to understand risk assessment, how it is done and how important it is in the health & safety management process.
 
For operational staff the range of courses is extensive from general topics such as safety awareness, manual handling, fire safety, etc to some very specific topics such as COSHH, first aid, food hygiene, fork lift truck driving, use of harnesses, working at height, erection of tower scaffolds, etc.  All should feature in your review of needs and form part of your training plan.
 
Training Records
Once training is complete there are two other important aspects.  First make sure good training records are maintained.  These records will be your evidence of what has been done should you be subject to investigation.  Second, keep them up to date.  Training is not a one off exercise but needs to be updated and refreshed regularly.
 
Don’t though get hoodwinked into repeating training on a 3, 6 or 12 monthly basis just for the sake of it.  We have heard of some providers putting ‘expiry dates’ on course certificates that are essentially ‘Certificates of Attendance’.  It is always worth checking what the legal requirements are before committing to an expensive re-training programme.  Call us – we are here to help you and in this area we might just save you money that could be better spent – and we would say it wouldn’t  we – on other more relevant training.
 
Addressing training in an organised manner is all part and parcel of the employer exercising its general duty of care.  Putting a cost benefit on training is difficult - but without it, your ability to demonstrate that your employees are competent is virtually impossible.
 
The secret of success, is to make sure the training is relevant and interesting – after all, boring, irrelevant training is a waste of time and money.
 
An important part of the Sentient service to clients is to help them manage their training.  This might range from a simple discussion through to physically carrying out a training needs analysis, the setting up of training plans or the delivery of specific training courses.
 
Give us a call – it costs nothing to have a chat about your training needs.

 

 

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