Do I have to provide health and safety training?
We are often asked “Do I have to provide health and safety training? The short answer is yes. In this article, we answer this question more thoroughly and explain the reasons why.
So, why do I have to provide Health and Safety training?
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 requires you, as the employer, 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 and to ensure they carry out their work activities safely.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, identify situations where health and safety training is particularly important, e.g. when people start work, on exposure to new or increased risks and where existing skills may have become rusty or need updating.
Like many employers, you may not be in a position to provide this training on your own, in which case you will need competent help.
How do you decide what health and safety training is required?
Training is a recognised control measure on the risk assessment hierarchy of control and should be identified via your risk assessment process. Be aware that it does sit very low down on the scale and is only one step above personal protective equipment. You should therefore try to manage the risk by implementing measures that are higher up the scale first. This is often not possible to achieve however, for example, you may not be able to avoid working at height or fully reduce the risks of manual handling in which case training is critical in safeguarding workers.
There are also several pieces of legislation that set out specific training requirements, such as the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations or the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations.
What happens when it comes to training managers and supervisors?
While there is a lot of very topic-specific health and safety training, you should not forget that your managers and supervisors will also need training in the management of health and safety. This should include subjects such as awareness of legislative requirements, how to carry out risk assessments, audits of the workplace and how to create a good health and safety culture.
Should you always employ a training provider to train your staff?
It is not necessary to always pay for employees to be trained by someone else. What is necessary, however, is that training should be proportionate to the risk. So, for example, a task briefing from a supervisor would be appropriate for a low-risk activity whereas other activities will require full training to be delivered by a specialist provider.
You may want to provide some health and safety training, including induction training, periodic tool-box talks and briefings, yourself. Job shadowing and mentoring schemes are also practical ways to train your workforce in-house.
What if you are not able to provide the training yourselves?
You are legally responsible for ensuring that you appoint an appropriately qualified and competent training organisation to carry out the training on your behalf. The content of the course you select should cover the suitable material to a sufficient level of detail. Once the training has been completed ask your employees for feedback to check that the course was relevant and well delivered.