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How to implement effective health and safety training

Every responsible employer wants to protect their staff, and one of the best ways of doing this is effective training. Why is training so important?  Put simply, because it is an excellent preventative measure and gives your staff the tools and knowledge to handle any difficult situations. 

The benefits of effective staff training are far reaching and help to mitigate serious physical and financial risk. However, many organisations, and especially smaller businesses may  lack the internal resource or knowledge to facilitate appropriate safety training for staff. However, implementing staff training doesn’t need to be difficult. By putting in place the four cornerstones of safety training, you can ensure that your staff have all the health and safety skills they need. 

Step One: Identify Training Needs

Training requirements vary greatly between organisations and job roles. Although it may not seem necessary, training needs should be identified early on as part of the risk assessment process and included within any lone worker policy. There are two types of risk when it comes to Health and Safety training, classic health and safety issues and people and conflict based risk. Comprehensive training will cover both of these issues and may include:

Classic Health and Safety issues

*Identifying risks and hazards

*Training required to carry out a job competently (eg handling substances, working with electricity, heavy lifting)

*Using and operating any equipment, machinery and vehicles safely

*How to respond/raise an alert if an accident occurs

People and conflict-based issues

*Recognising, diffusing and responding to threatening, aggressive and violent situations

*The safety value of mobile phones, duress codes, contingency planning and exit strategies and how to use them

*How to use any lone worker devices and action procedures that have been implemented by the business

Step Two: Agree Training Methods

The types of training required and how these are carried out will also differ greatly depending on individual business needs and style. You may find that different groups of employees require different types or levels of training.

For low risk environments such as office-based work, providing written information may be the only requirement necessary. For higher risk roles, you may want to consider ‘on the job’ training from an experienced colleague, online interactive training or classroom training from an external organisation or individual. There are a whole range of training programmes available, so it’s probably helpful to do some research into the different options.

By law, you are also responsible for self-employed or contracted workers under your supervision. You must ensure that they are adequately trained in the tasks you are asking of them and fully aware of your policies, as well as Health and Safety procedures.

Step Three: Include agreed training in your lone worker policy

It’s important that all required training is included in your lone worker policy and that all lone workers are made aware of what’s expected of them. Other Health and Safety information should also be included such as who to contact in the case of an emergency.

As part of your policy, you could consider creating a schedule for refresher training depending on risk levels and the nature of the business.

Step Four: Implement Training

It’s important that all staff members receive the training you provide. If several staff members are unable to attend a training session, you may want to consider running it over a couple of days or appraise alternative methods for those individuals such as online or recorded training material.

For anyone carrying out potentially dangerous work alone, it may be useful to shadow the employee on the job or recreate role playing scenarios for them to react to as part of the training. For example, if your lone workers work closely with vulnerable individuals or behind closed doors, you may want to run or outsource training programmes that allow them to ‘role play’ a situation in which a client becomes aggressive.

Unfortunately, no matter how prepared you are, incidents can and will occur. However, ensuring your staff are well prepared can help to reduce the severity of an incident. Robust staff training also helps ensure you are adhering to lone worker and Health and Safety legislation. Implementing comprehensive training helps you fulfil your duty of care to your staff and equip them with all the knowledge the need to do their jobs effectively.

For information on our lone working solutions, visit our product page.

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