With 142 workers killed in the workplace in the last year and 1.6 million workers suffering from a work-related illness resulting in 38.8 million working days lost, ensuring a safe and healthy workplace is a top priority for companies and organisations of all sizes – and that’s where an effective training programme can help.
Health and safety employee training is a legal requirement. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires employers to provide whatever training, equipment, PPE, and information is necessary to ensure employees’ health and safety and health. Further legislation applies to specific roles and situations.
Providing health and safety training makes good sense, too. Not only does it reduce the likelihood of workplace injuries and the resulting lost workdays and productivity, but it also helps avoid the potential for expensive legal injury claims and improves productivity and quality. Investing in employee and development training also demonstrates your commitment to your employees’ wellbeing, helping boost morale and prevent high employee turnover levels.
How to create a health and safety employee training programme
Effective health and safety training is essential so that employees understand risks to their health and safety and know how to avoid them. Training must be paid for by the employer and organised in working time. Discover how to create an effective health and safety training programme for your organisation.
1. Assess your organisation’s training needs
Begin designing a training programme for employees by carrying out a risk assessment to identify workplace hazards and the measures required to manage risks to health and safety. Understand your responsibilities under UK legislation and globally, which depends on the sector or industry you operate in and the nature of the work your employees do.
Regulations cover a range of activities and operations, such as:
- Health and Safety – The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
- Display screen equipment – The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations (DSE Regs)
- Manual handling – Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHO Regs)
- Asbestos – The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations
- Workplace safety – The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
- First aid – The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations
- Fire safety – The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
- Electricity – Electricity at Work Regs
- Work equipment – Provision and Use of Work Equipment (PUWE) Regs
- Substances hazardous to health – Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regs (COSHH)
- Food preparation – Food Safety Act 1990
- Confined spaces –The Confined Spaces Regulations
- Noise and vibration – Noise at Work Regulations (NAW Regs) and The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations
- Construction – The Construction (Design and Management) Regulation
- Personal protective equipment – Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (PPE Regs)
2. Identify your employees’ training needs
While all employees should receive basic health and safety awareness training, individual training requirements will depend on the employee’s competency requirements, job role and working environment. For example, an administrative assistant will require different training to an electrician or a forklift truck driver. All employees may be exposed to risks during their working day and require training to keep them protected.
Attention should be paid to certain types of employees, including new or returning employees and employees taking on new duties and responsibilities. Training should be a priority for young or inexperienced employees who may be vulnerable to accidents and ill health due to lack of familiarity and awareness. In addition, all employees require their health and safety knowledge to be periodically updated by refresher training.
Effective ways of identifying your organisation’s training needs include comparing job specifications and required competency levels, providing employee questionnaires, conducting employee interviews and observing employee performance. Analysing HR records and previous training at other employers can also highlight training needs.
Using the data from your assessment, you can then define your employee training objectives by department or job role and apply time frames for completion.
3. Explore different types of employee training available
With your training objectives set, you can now decide how best to achieve them. There are multiple ways to deliver training programmes, and the best method varies depending on the subject being taught and the resources required. There are three main types of training, which can be combined to deliver hybrid or blended training programmes.
This method uses digital media, online course materials and features such as quizzes to convey and test knowledge. More advanced forms of online training may incorporate elements of virtual reality or live remote training. Online training typically includes assessments of each module, usually in the form of multiple-choice questions or hazard spotting.
Pros: Online training can be efficiently delivered to large numbers of employees; without a teacher or classroom, it is a cost-effective solution; trainees can work at their own pace, in their own time and from anywhere with an internet connection. Training can be monitored, provide compliance records and management reports via powerful learning management systems (LMS) like the SHINE platform.
Cons: Some platforms don’t allow questions, and some trainees find the solitary online scenario challenging or not appropriate for their learning style.
This training style follows the traditional teacher/student formula and usually occurs in a classroom environment or virtually. Typically, the person or people leading the training will present the materials to the trainees and engage with them through questions and discussions.
Pros: This style allows for maximum engagement from the trainees and means explanations of complex topics can be personalised to the individual who may be struggling.
Cons: In-person training requires a designated training space and administration such as joining instructions, and can prevent trainees from learning at their own pace.
This involves employees performing work tasks or using specific equipment or software while being guided and instructed by a trainer. This kind of on-the-job training provides employees with direct experience of the task at hand and allows them to identify and overcome any obstacles. The hands-on method also describes products and service training.
Pros: Hands-on training allows employees to learn as they work and fully engage with the activity while having the opportunity to ask questions.
Cons: This kind of training is time-intensive and sometimes requires multiple resources such as a teacher and a training space.
4. Create your employee training programme plan
Collate your research and observations and draft your structured employee training programme. This should be detailed and outline training objectives, course content and materials and the training delivery method. The level of training required and factors such as trainees’ learning abilities and styles should all be considered. Gather your course materials – these can be created by your organisation or sourced from a commercial course provider such as Praxis42. Divide your content into modules and decide upon the best delivery method before finalising the training programme.
5. Set up an online training platform
Once you have finalised your training programme, it needs to be stored, delivered and monitored. The best way to achieve this is to use a learning management system (LMS) – an online training platform that delivers training and allows individual users’ progress to be tracked. A learning management system, such as Praxis42 Shine aids training deployment as all resources are in one place and are delivered uniformly. Training platforms often increase engagement with interactive learning tools, information, and completed courses can support compliance record keeping and management information, and help during audits.
6. Implement and monitor your training programme
Implementing your training programme should follow your plan, and each step should be monitored in terms of employee engagement and key performance indicators. Gather feedback from employees during the initial runs of the programme upon completion of each module so any potential issues or gaps in the training system can be identified and improved upon.