Health and Safety Induction Courses
One of the most at-risk groups when it comes to the potential for accidents or incidents are new people to the place of work. This can either be existing employees who have been moved within the company (e.g. a promotion or relocation) or brand new starters.
The category of 'new starters' can be further broken down into people who already have experience of working in the particular industry, or young people who have little to no experience of working either in any workplace, or in the particular environment they now find themselves in, for example an apprentice working in a manufacturing plant as their very first taste of work since leaving college. Health and safety training for these young people is particularly important as they will in all likelihood not have received any formal health and safety training before, either through safety inductions, formal qualifications or specific health and safety courses at other companies.
Those new to a place of work will require an induction course. From a health and safety perspective, this will make them aware of numerous topics such as the main risks and hazards that are present, the location of emergency exits and assembly points, toilet facilities, first aid points etc. Not only is there a risk of an accident or incident befalling them personally, but they also need to know how to work safely to avoid endangering a fellow worker or member of the public who may be nearby or visiting the premises.
Statistics show that employees who are new to the workplace are most likely to suffer an accident or illness, due either to their inexperience or because they are unfamiliar with the workplace operations and procedures. By providing a health and safety induction along with other appropriate health and safety courses relevant to their job the chances of an accident or incident involving this new starter are reduced. If an incident does occur, knowing where the emergency exits and first aid points are may be the difference between life and death, either for themselves or a colleague.
What Induction Training is Needed?
The type of health and safety induction course will vary depending on the individual. An induction is needed whenever the person is exposed to new or increased risks. Whilst for some new starters this will involve a complete tour and familiarisation with the workplace and its associated dangers and risks, the inductee may be a person who has been promoted or moved internally within the company and are already familiar with the site. The induction will then concentrate on the new risks that they face in their new role that they may not have encountered in their previous position. Conversely, a new starter who is not only new to the company but also to the industry itself will need a much more in-depth introduction to the risks that are present in a workplace operating in such an industry, than someone who has worked in the industry for 20 years and is joining a competitor. For example, an apprentice coming fresh out of college and working on a construction site for the very first time will need a more in-depth induction of construction site hazards than someone who has already been working in the construction industry for decades.
Along with the induction, the new worker may require additional health and safety training courses to learn more about dangers that are unfamiliar to them, or procedures that they have not been required to follow before such as a permit to work system. In a high-risk workplace environment, understanding and being able to correctly follow a permit to work procedure is vital. In this instance attending a permit to work training course is a necessity to help avoid a major disaster.
The Importance of Training New Starts
For any business, one of the most important things that can be managed is the understanding of your staff and how they perceive their role within the firm. It's always important to take these things into account and make sure that all the new staff that joins your ranks is going to be reliable when it comes to following health and safety protocol.
It might not seem hugely important at the moment, but managing this kind of project is vital to keeping your business safe and secure for years to come. To get there, though, you need to be prepared to go through some rather challenging aspects of managing a business.
For example, you will need to take each new member of staff and thoroughly drill them on the importance of health and safety. Make no mistake, the difference between understanding health and safety and claiming to understand it could be the difference between your premises being in profit, or being burnt to the ground.
In business, staff turnover is inevitable, and in large organisations employees come and go all the time. Those that come in may never have had any previous health and safety training before in their lives. Even if they have, they will be unfamiliar with their new employer's specific health and safety policy, the exact fire safety procedures etc. Short induction training sessions will educate them to some extent, but in order to gain the comprehensive knowledge required in order to work safely, a proper health and safety training course is the best way to go, particularly if it is an in-house course that is specifically tailored to your organisation's working practices and the specific risks and hazards employees will face in performing their job role.
Health and safety training will not only be of benefit to the individual employee in order to let them work safely and reduce the chances of them injuring themselves, but it will also reduce the risk of them causing an accident which will injure or kill a fellow worker. Effective health and safety in a workplace relies on individuals also working safely as a team, making the environment safe for their colleagues as well as themselves.
The training available to new starters is varied, and will depend to a great extent upon their previous level of health and safety training and experience in the industry. Whilst everybody who starts will need to undergo induction safety training to some extent - being made aware of issues such as where the emergency exits are and what the fire alarm sounds like for instance - those with little to no previous knowledge or health and safety training should undertake a NEBOSH General Certificate or an IOSH Working Safely course which will provide an overview of the main hazards to be found in a typical organisation. For those with many new starters, this training can be provided in-house and made bespoke to the exact nature and working practices of your business.
Therefore, it's vital to get every member of staff that you possibly can learning through regular and consistent healthy and safety training. If they are new to the company, this can really pay off in the long-term as you'll help them get to grips with what they want to do, and where they want to go with the company.
The right health and safety training course will depend on their day-to-day activities, as well as their position in the company. Workers on the shop floor will likely gain more benefit from practical health and safety training which includes demonstrations and activities to go with any theory taught, such as our manual handling course. For those in a managerial or supervisory role, a course such as the SMSTS (Site Management Safety Training Scheme), SSSTS (Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme) or IOSH Managing Safely will be more suitable.
Health and safety can help you save massive sums of money in the long-term along with other benefits, as well as making sure that you have all the help that you could possibly need in getting to grips with the overall system you are dealing with. To make sure that all of your staff are trained and can be trusted to be on the premises, we recommend that you try asking them the following;
- How would they deal with a specific hazard? Depending on your industry you will be at risk of certain problems more than others. Make sure they can tell you a modern, secure and smart way to handle this problem and avoid the issues that come with being negligent when it comes to health and safety training
- What are the emergency procedures that need to be followed?
- Where is the key equipment stored for anything that could be dealt with i.e. a fire?
Your staff need to understand the vital nature of dealing with risks and hazards, otherwise they might damage the company in some capacity, whether to physical buildings/stock or to reputation and brand name. To avoid this problem, then, you really need to work with your new staff to make sure they fit in with the health and safety first ethos of your business. This is very important, and can be the deciding factor in keeping your business successful.
Not only is health and safety training in the interests of the company itself, either from a moral or financial point of view (compensation claims or lost days can be extremely expensive to the firm!), but employers also have a legal requirement to prove health and safety training to their workers since the introduction of health and safety legislation such as The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
Whatever courses you decide on, health and safety training is a continuous process. Even those who remain with the company for years will still need regular refresher courses or to sit the course again, as changes to working practices and health and safety legislation will need to be taken into account. This is why some of the accredited qualifications only last a certain number of years before expiring. Failure to learn about and implement the latest changes required by law could mean you and your company facing expensive fines or even imprisonment, making health and safety training essential.
Health and Safety Training and Young People
The workplace can be a dangerous place for everyone, no matter what age or particular industry they are in. With numerous potential dangers such as hazardous substances (COSHH), fire risks, heavy objects etc, workers face dangers every day. Even places of work such as offices which are considered relatively safe have potential risks (see our Office Safety course).
Along with new starters, the group which are perhaps most at risk are young people, who have little or no experience in working in the particular environment. Unlike an experienced worker who has a good knowledge of the required procedures and can predict potential problems before they develop into something too serious, a young person may end up doing something which not only puts themselves at risk, but also risks the safety of their colleagues as well.
Young people may also be less mature and take more risks than older workers, particularly if they are working in a group with similar aged young people and wish to show off or work without safety equipment to try and look tough. Whilst this is a generalisation (there will be many young people who are more responsible than some older employees!), it is still a fact, and a potential risk worth considering.
It is important for all workers, but health and safety training is vital for young people who have had little or no formal training in the past. They may have come straight from college or university, and will be unfamiliar with the surroundings and necessary working procedures. All workers need making aware of certain things such as the company's health and safety policy, evacuation procedures, safety equipment provided etc, but in order to fully understand the risks and what to do to avoid them, they will need to go on one or a number of health and safety training courses. Courses such as the NEBOSH General Certificate or the IOSH Managing Safely course will provide good general information regarding health and safety. There are also many health and safety training courses which specialise in certain areas including the:
- NEBOSH Fire Certificate
- NEBOSH Construction Certificate
- Manual Handling Training
- Sharps Awareness Training
- Working at Height
Your organisation's risk assessment and health and safety policy may need to make specific reference to the young people you employ. The meaning of the term 'young people' will vary from business to business. In an engineering firm, a young person is likely to be an apprentice in their late teens or early twenties, who is legally an adult. For other firms, their young people could be children employed on a part-time basis after school or in the holidays. There will be extra legislation covering children at work, such as a limit to the number of hours worked and the type of work they are asked to do.
Young people are likely to need more supervision when they first start as well as health and safety training, to ensure that they are working safely. On the other hand, they are usually faster learners and more willing to listen and adapt their working practices after instruction, whereas an older worker may be more stubborn and entrenched in their way of thinking and doing things.
It is important that managers, supervisors and older colleagues who have the experience impart their knowledge to young people who are new to the surroundings or equipment so that they are more aware of the risks and as a result are less likely to repeat the same mistakes that others have made in the past. This informal mentoring needs to be in conjunction with more formal health and safety training to ensure that they are learning the correct way of working and using equipment safely, as whilst what they are being told by more experienced employees may be mostly useful, it is important to ensure that, despite the good intentions, what they are being told is correct and that they are not picking up any bad habits or incorrect ways of working.
Although young people may be more likely to cause an incident, appropriate health and safety training combined with comprehensive risk assessments, health and safety policy, communication and risk management will serve to greatly reduce the chance of accidents happening, allowing them to work safely and avoid harm to themselves or others.
Health and Safety Training - Next Steps:
For more information on health and safety training and to discuss your particular requirements with one of our dedicated health and safety advisers, please call us on 0844 800 3295 or send us an online contact form by clicking on the 'Contact' tab at the top of the page. Alternatively, click on the "Health & Safety Training" tab at the top of the page to find out more about the different health and safety courses and provisions that we offer.