Under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 all employers have a duty to provide all employees with suitable and sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision in order for them to carry out their job safely.

This includes providing information in a form that employees can understand on:

  • The main findings of any relevant risk assessments
  • The precautions employees need to take to protect themselves and other employees or those who may be affected by the business activities
  • What procedures they should follow in the event of an emergency

Employers are required to decide on training priorities, to choose training methods, provide the necessary resources and to provide training during working hours.  Special arrangements may be required for part timers or shift workers, people with poor literacy skills or those with disabilities, such as sight or hearing.

Effective communication plays a vital part in engaging with employees. Every effort should be made to safeguard workers from hazards and to ensure that safety is not compromised by inadequate information.

Poor levels of supervision, the lack of health and safety information and training are significant factors in allowing the reduction of health and safety awareness and thus allowing a poor culture and low standards of safety to develop in the workplace.

Safety communication can take varying forms, a multi channel approach will help to ensure effective communication throughout the organisation.

  • All employees should receive a company induction which covers emergency procedures and an ongoing system of training to ensure that they can perform their tasks safely
  • Senior managers should be trained in managing health and safety and be aware of their health and safety responsibilities.
  • Health and safety meetings are an opportunity for all mangers to discuss health and safety issues, audit findings, risk assessments, accident records and sickness absence reports.
  • Regular health and safety inspections, feedback and recommendation reports should be fed to senior managers and board members.
  • Preventative and protective measures taken by the organisation should be communicated to all staff. Increased communication can be attained by providing all staff with access to company email.

Records

Employers should keep a record of any individual’s training, stored appropriately, “Data Protection” compliant in the employee’s personnel files. This will help to identify when refresher training is needed in the future. Particular training will be required for those employees changing jobs or taking extra responsibilities, new employees, agency workers, vulnerable groups such as young workers and health and safety representatives.

A comprehensive Company Training Matrix including health and safety requirements would be a useful management tool.

 

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