Distribution of Health and Safety Policy Not Enough
The Importance of a Health and Safety Policy
A company's health and safety policy is not only a legal requirement, but is also an extremely useful document. It details a lot of useful information regarding all manner of health and safety issues including the aims of the company with regards to safety and well-being, how it will achieve them, who is responsible for doing what and many other components besides. It is therefore extremely important and should be read by all employees so that they have a through understanding of its contents and what it is aiming to accomplish.
For this to be achieved, the health and safety policy should be available and easily accessible to all employees. Even better, distributing it to them either in print or in electronic format will ensure that they at least have a copy of it in their possession rather than relying upon them actively searching and finding it wherever it happens to be located.
The Need for Health and Safety Training with the Safety Policy Document
However, whilst this is a vital document, the distribution of the health and safety policy is not enough on its own. Managers cannot simply dish it out and sit back thinking that their job is done. To have the desired effect in terms of keeping people and the environment safe from coming to harm as a result of the activities associated with the workplace, simply having a quick read through (if indeed a person even gives it that much attention!) will not be sufficient without health and safety training courses to provide the relevant knowledge to go with the policy document, and provide the opportunity for questions to be asked and clarification given on points contained in the health and safety policy which might be causing confusion and misunderstanding. Not fully understanding certain issues, processes or procedures is one of the biggest reasons behind accidents and incidents occurring which can cause people to be killed, injured, or made ill as a consequence.
Whilst the policy will outline and describe who is responsible for what role in, say, the event of an emergency such as a fire in the premises, bespoke health and safety courses will be able to explain in detail not only what these individuals should be doing themselves to fulfil these tasks, but will also provide this information to everyone else, as it is important that they too know what action and steps are going to be taken in the event of an emergency situation breaking out the workplace.
Remember to Provide Refresher Training
The need for refresher health and safety training is well-established, with refresher courses in place for the SMSTS and SSSTS construction safety courses as an example, where knowledge has to be refreshed to ensure that individuals have not forgotten what they were previously taught.
The same is also true for the information learned from the health and safety policy document. Not only can this be forgotten as time progresses, but as the workplace is a constantly expanding or changing environment it will often be necessary for the health and safety policy to be amended and modified, not to mention any bespoke health and safety training where the content is the same each time and has been for a while. Therefore, companies need to ensure that not only is the health and safety policy itself kept up to date, but also that the safety training which accompanies it is updated to take into account any modifications to the policy.