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Skimping on Health and Safety Training Can Often End Up Costing More


Time and again there are cases where one or more people have been killed, injured or made ill due to insufficient health and safety measures in their workplace, brought about because the managers of the company are trying to spend as little money as possible. Typically this will take the form of:

1) Spending too little, if any, money on health and safety training to make workers aware of the dangers that they may encounter in the workplace. This can come from hazardous substances or dangerous machinery which they use in their job role for instance, or risks which are present in the workplace from other factors related to the workplace environment itself such as the potential for a fire to start somewhere in the building.


2) Trying to increase revenue and/or keeping expenditure low by deliberately cutting corners with regards to health and safety. Not only can this include not providing sufficient health and safety training, but can also mean:

  • Not paying money on purchasing and maintaining necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Telling workers to avoid using safety items such as harnesses that take time to set-up, or not insisting that written procedures are followed and duly completed, all for the sake of speeding up the job and therefore increasing output.

The Difficulty in Determining Value From Health and Safety Training

Most managers dislike paying out money for anything, even supplies and wages, but many resent having to pay out money on something for which they cannot see immediate tangible benefits. They believe that health and safety is virtually all common sense, and that paying money out on safety training will be a waste as everybody should know what is dangerous.

The value of money spent on a pile of raw materials can easily be measured against the monetary amount of the known quantity of finished goods that that amount of raw materials will create. Managers can work out that x amount of raw material will result in y amount of finished products, which are sold for z and bring in an exact amount of revenue. With health and safety training however - and to a large extent money spent on protective equipment and safety features - a financial return on the initial spend will be impossible to calculate. Combine this with a misconception held by many managers that health and safety is all common sense and therefore training is unnecessary, and it provides all the justification that is being looked for by managers who do not wish to spend any money on health and safety for their staff members.

What Value Does Health and Safety Training Create?

Direct Financial Implications

The exact specifics will depend upon the health and safety legislation of the particular country in which it takes place, but generally speaking a person who is injured or made-ill from their workplace tasks or environment and was not suitably trained or provided with necessary safety equipment can often sue for compensation. Additionally, companies found to be in breach of applicable health and safety regulations in that jurisdiction can be fined large amounts of money. All of this means that there is the potential for an incredibly large bill, far in excess of the cost of providing health and safety training or suitable protective measures in the first place. This makes not providing training just to save costs a gamble that rarely pays of in the long term.

It can also be costlier to take out insurance after a significant financial claim, or if the insurance company is not satisfied that suitable safeguards to prevent an accident are not already in place.

Indirect Financial Implications

Providing health and safety training is not all about avoiding fines and compensation claims however. Workers who feel that managers care about their well-being will often feel happier and be more motivated. This will typically result in higher productivity and lower absenteeism levels, which will filter through to the bottom line eventually in the form of higher profits for the company.

So health and safety training should not only be viewed as a mechanism for avoiding fines and compensation claims, but also as a positive tool for increasing the motivation and productiveness of employees. In this case, workers and management alike benefit from a safe and pleasant workplace.

Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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