The main objective of health and safety training is to increase your worker’s understanding and awareness of the risks they may encounter in the workplace, and, more importantly, how to avoid and reduce the chances of incidents happening at all. Although risk can never be totally eliminated, employees that have a greater understanding of the risks will know what to look out for and what they can do (or not do) to reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring to as close to zero as possible.
Not only will health and safety training make them more aware of the potential hazards, it should also inform them of the control measures that are in place to prevent accidents, and the company’s health and safety procedures for working safely.
Health and safety training which reduces accidents and incidents in the workplace will have a number of benefits to the company, particularly financial, making it an excellent return on investment. After an accident, a worker is likely to need time off to recover. This will vary depending upon the severity of the accident, but can be a significant amount of time in serious cases. The same can be said of those who become ill as a result of poor working conditions. Having an employee away from the workplace will reduce the total output of the company. If the company wishes to maintain the existing level of output, they will need to bring in temporary workers which will incur costs in terms of recruitment fees and having to pay them a wage as well as sick pay to the person off work. Alternatively, they can get other workers to cover for the absent one, but making people do part of someone else’s job as well as their own is likely to cause a fall in morale and a feeling of being over-worked.
A worker who has received health and safety training which stops them from having an accident means there is less potential for them to sue the company afterwards. Even though the company may not have done anything wrong and would win the court case, it will still use up valuable time and money fighting the case or agreeing an out-of-court settlement.
Health and safety training should be given to new starters, covering topics such as how to safely operate the particular equipment that they will be using, the hazards that they face from others working on the premises (e.g. fork lift truck drivers moving items around the factory floor), the company’s emergency procedures and the location of things such as fire fighting apparatus, emergency exits, assembly points etc.
It is also important that workers frequently receive regular health and safety training in order to refresh their knowledge as things may have been forgotten since the last session. Training should also be given when circumstances change such as when a person is transferred to another area of the business, when new equipment is introduced, or there is a change to how existing machinery is used. The company’s insurance company may also require training in a specific area as part of the agreement to insure the business.