Training workers is very important in managing Health and Safety in the Workplace, especially in these COVID pandemic times.
Communication and training are an important element of your work planning, as your usual practices and procedures will likely have changed, and new measures may have been introduced to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
In addition, changes made due to COVID-19 may have a knock-on effect on other risk assessments, and staff will need to be aware of how all of this impacts their safety and the safety of others.
Training is important to establish competency, and should be linked to key responsibilities, activities and tasks identified in risk assessments.
Informal or unstructured training can overlook proper health and safety procedures and precautions, allowing incorrect practices that have not been formally assessed to emerge.
This blog explains what you, as an employer, should do to make sure your employees receive appropriate health and safety training, not only during these extraordinary times but more generally, it discusses the legal requirement to provide training, who might need it, what form it may take, and how to organise it.
What the LAW says
Under the Health and Safety at work Act etc 1974, employers must, “so far as is reasonably practicable” provide whatever information, instruction, training, and supervision is necessary to ensure the health and safety of their employees at work.
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 identifies situations where health and safety training are particularly important.
When people start work.
On exposure to new or increased risks, such as COVID-19.
Where existing skills become rusty or need updating.
A number of other regulations also include specific health and safety training requirements such as first aid, fire safety etc
The overarching objective of an employer, with respects to health and safety, should be to:
provide information, instruction, and training to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, employees spot and control hazards and risks; and
develop safe systems of work (SSOW) and risk control measures for health and safety and include them in formal work instructions and procedures.
The requirements for effective completion of these actions can be determined, primarily, from the health and safety policy and from up-to-date and comprehensive risk assessments.
KVF can provide this competent assistance, including bespoke health and safety training.
Key elements to develop effective training
Develop training plans for new starters, employees changing roles and refresh, or supplement training and instruction already delivered.
Identify skills and knowledge needed for employees to do their job in a safe and healthy manner. Compare these against existing skills and knowledge (a gap analysis of training needs).
Review records of injuries, near misses and cases of ill health to spot potential weak points in training.
Refer to risk assessments to find out where information and/or training has been identified as a key factor to controlling risks.
Consult employees or representatives for their views. The health and safety (consultation with employees) Regulations 1996 and safety Representatives and safety committee Regulations 1977 also requires an employer to consult with employees or representatives on health and safety issues. Consulting with employees can result in a much safer workplace, as your employees will have first-hand knowledge on hazards and will be well placed to help you assess risks and develop ways to control or remove them.
Consider awareness training needs for everyone, including directors, managers, and supervisors.
Work out if there is need for specific training for certain individuals or workers involved in particular activities.
Prioritise training for situations where lack of information and/or training might result in serious harm.
Decide on the training methods and resources needed to make it as effective as possible. For example: coaching or on the job training, classroom training, interactive e-learning such as our Intuity online training platform, groups, or individual training, providing information or instruction.
Consider training needs to all employees, including people who cannot speak English, disabled employees.
Whatever your approach is, make sure information is easy to understand.
Check the training has worked and employees have the knowledge and skills to work safely. Then decide if there is a need for further training.
Provide periodic refresher training, including for infrequent, complex or safety critical tasks.
Keep employees or their representatives on health and safety matters involved in regular consultations.
Monitor and stay up to date with relevant legislation and guidance.
When it comes to health and safety, a proactive approach is essential. Don't wait for an injury or ill-health incident to occur in your workplace before addressing knowledge gaps and unsafe practices, build training into your overall management plan to ensure everyone remains risk aware.
Training should progress to behavioural based safety management and the creation of a safety partnership between management and employees to focus on daily safety behaviours, improving and reinforcing safe behaviours, while reducing unsafe behaviours.
Importantly, the HSE is now actively inspecting organisations to check their COVID and other compliance, regular communication and training will prevent any suggestion that employees haven’t been informed of your risk control measures or made aware of what they must do to keep themselves and others safe.
Contact: email@example.com to find out more.
We look forward to helping you.
The KVF Team.