Why health and safety training is needed

The Health and Safety at Work Act, etc 1974 states that employers should provide “such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees”. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 further require that employers provide employees with adequate health and safety training both on recruitment and when the risks to which they are exposed change, for example, where they move to a new role or when new work equipment is provided.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 go on to state that training should be repeated periodically where appropriate, be adapted to take account of any new or different risks and take place during working hours. Other sets of regulations which require training of employees include the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Organisations that have their health and safety management systems certified, for example to BS OHSAS 18001 or ISO 45001, are also required to conform to requirements concerning competence.

Unfortunately, when it comes to work-related training, there is no one-size-fits-all. Employers should consider who in their organisation needs training, what training should be provided, when, by whom, and when training should be repeated and refreshed. Consideration should also be paid to whether staff require formal qualifications for their role, such as facility managers, first aiders, or the maintenance teams responsible for legionella safety.

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