Why Health and Safety Training is Important
Workers are often faced with health and safety dangers at their workplace. It doesn't matter the size of the company, be it a large or small firm, the safety and health of an organisation's workers should be of paramount importance to the leadership of that organisation.
For some industries the dangers might seem obvious while for some they may not (Related Page: Health and Safety in the Workplace), but there isn't any workplace in existence where its' workers do not face health and safety dangers. Workers in restaurants or in an office might feel safe in their working environment, but as true as it may appear, there exists the potential of food contaminations, poor ergonomics and maybe psychological stress which can be a source of health and safety problems.
Health and Safety Training is Important for All Businesses and Industries
Since all industries face workplace hazards, it is imperative for company owners to provide health and safety training on a regular basis to curtail the chances of any industrial mishap. Did you know that more than two hundred workers die each year due to workplace related accidents, whilst more than one million individuals are injured during this time frame? Also, more than two million workers suffer from illnesses that are either caused or aggravated by what they do. With all these facts, preventing health-related accidents in the workplace should be one of the principal priorities of employers.
The Numerous Benefits of Health and Safety Training
The importance of safety and health training does not only end with injuries; there are many benefits associated with having sound safety and health training. A thorough knowledge of health and safety topics can provide many benefits and help in developing a positive health and safety culture among workers. This way, everyone becomes aware of safe and healthy working. If your company has a good health and safety training programme in place, it will help in ensuring that the employees are not prone to workplace accidents or falling ill due to their jobs, thereby avoiding the distress that workplace accidents and ill health causes.
Some other important reasons for engaging industrial workers in health and safety training include the following:
Lower Insurance Premiums
You save money because you will pay lower insurance premiums in the long run. If you have a company that has a workforce which is well-trained on a wide range of health and safety issues, you don't have to pay regular injury and accident claims when you have a knowledgeable employees on health and safety issues, which should avoid expensive rises in insurance premiums going forward.
Reducing Potential Compensation Claims
For those in charge of the company, learning about workplace health and safety can help in the reduction of workplace accidents and injuries, which will in turn help in saving the company from costly legal battles with their workers and lifelong support for their families. Prioritising the health and safety of your employees keeps them happy and provides good working conditions which will keep them from leaving the job due to any workplace-related illness.
Increasing Productivity and Output Levels
If your employees are healthy and fit, they will work with high efficiency which will affect the company's productivity positively. The productivity of a company is affected more by accidents and illness in the workplace than workers' strikes. Employers of labour understand that lost wages, disability compensation and medical payments eats deep into the financial resources of the company. Companies that engage their employees on regular health and safety training initiatives have fewer workplace related injuries and illness. Less illness means less medical and disability compensation, and the absence of workers is lessened which also increase company's productivity. An enhanced and safer working environment increases satisfaction in the workers, and a happy workforce results in enhanced productivity. So it will be right to say that health and safety training increases the overall productivity of a company.
It is to be noted that a safe workplace will make employees focus better on their daily task because they don't have to worry themselves much about their safety during working hours. This improved focus on their task will subsequently yield to a better output and quality of work which will ultimately mean an increase in productivity and increase in the company's profit.
Maintaining Company Reputation
If your employees have a good knowledge of health and safety issues, the chances of accidents will be reduced and this will increase the reputation of the company. You may not know the extent of the damage a single accident can bring to your company. Just a single workplace accident can spell doom for your business, especially if it happened as a result of negligence coming from your side, with the failure to provide suitable health and safety training for your workers one of the first steps in the negligence case.
Legal Responsibilities and Duty of Care
There is also the legal part of it all. As the owner of a company or employer of labour, you have a duty of care to make sure that the employees working for you are safe and healthy no matter where they are working, be it in the office or on the roadside or even in the factory. A company with an excellent reputation is a company with an excellent health and safety training record, and as a result attracts better employees. Employees with great working skills, experience and knowledge help in building and maintaining the reputation of a company. A positive health and culture within the business can therefore act as a positive, self-fulfilling cycle which continues to provide benefits for both employees and the success of the company alike. Employees have the right to be protected by their employers from accidents and illness associated with the workplace. When an employer is found to be, or has been, negligent in this duty of care, they are likely to face legal action which may culminate in imprisonment or heavy fines (Related Link: Prosecution Increases the Need for Health and Safety Training for Managers.
Lower Staff Turnover
Additionally, a company with a good record of health and safety training has a greater chance of keeping quality workers in their workforce, which helps in reducing turnover because the company does not have to train new employees, and also reduces productivity loss which is associated with the time needed for the training of new employees.
The Continual Need for Health and Safety Training and Refresher Courses
Finally, it is imperative that health and safety training continues to be performed and regularly refreshed and updated. Information can be forgotten or working processes/workplace layouts changed, resulting in a need for revised and updated safety training. Complacency can be just as much of a reason and cause of accidents than not thinking about health and safety in the first instance.
Why Health and Safety Training is a MUST!
More than 142 workers have been killed this year due to work-related accidents, and more than 27.3 million work days lost because of work-related illnesses (UK Health and Safety statistics 2014/15). So, ill health and accidents caused by work should be a fundamental issue for all employers. The employees of every organisation are its most valuable assets. Therefore, they should receive relevant training on health and safety for their workplace.
Health and safety training in the workplace is a great way for workers to acquire new skills and information that will bolster ethical work practices. Providing this essential training can result in a change of attitude to work and a reduction in work-related accidents, which invariably increases morale, knowledge, and productivity.
Work related accidents occur due to hazards that exist in a place of work. These hazards include objects, attitudes, practices or procedures that have the inherent ability to cause harm in a working environment. Some employers and employees may not be able to recognise a workplace hazard, and this ignorance is mostly because of a lack of health and safety training. The ability to identify hazards is a crucial component in creating a safe place to work, and identifying these hazards is the first step to understanding the risks that are inherent in your work environment and introducing measures to mitigate them.
These types of risks originate from the nature of an employee's job and can include body posture, awkward movements, poor lighting, and incorrectly adjusted workstations. Ergonomic hazards are the most difficult to identify because they sometimes appear to be the "norm."
These are dangerous working environments that can cause illness, injury, and death. These types of hazards are the most common workplace risks and include:
- Unguarded machinery
- Confined spaces
- Loose or exposed electrical wiring
- Spills and much more
Workplace biological hazards can occur from diseases and sicknesses as a result of working with people, animals, or toxic plants. Workplaces with these sort of risks include - but not limited to - laboratories, hospitals, emergency response work, and nursing homes. These hazards can be transferred from exposure to bodily fluids, bacteria, viruses, insect bites and so much more.
There are also other hazards worth mentioning like physical hazards (temperature, noise, etc) and chemical hazards (gases, fumes, etc.) No matter the type of work carried out, as an employer it is your legal responsibility to ensure that your employees receive the necessary training that will help them perform their duties safely. Also, if you are an employee, you owe it to yourself to pinpoint areas of your job that you do not have the proper training for. Naturally, all new workers should receive health and safety induction training at the start of their employment. This training should cover primary health and safety methods like the procedure for a fire, evacuation, first aid, and any corporate policies.
Employers should know the skills necessary for workers to carry out their jobs safely; this will help in the identification of vital knowledge gaps. You can begin an in-house risk assessment system by using an accident book to classify the departments and teams according to recent and previous workplace accidents, as it is highly likely that these are the areas needing the most urgent attention as accidents have taken place recently.
Health and Safety Courses to Improve Competence
The competence of an individual is one of the key factors when it comes to health and safety, or more specifically, the safe operation of a particular task and the prevention of accidents or injuries either to themselves or to others nearby. Even if they have all the personal protective equipment (PPE), permit to work training and safe working systems etc in the world, if the person does not have the common sense or discipline to work safely, then they pose a danger to both themselves and to others working nearby.
Of course, this element of competence covers the person's character and nature. The other side of the coin is a worker who is the type of person who will follow instructions, take heed of warnings etc, but lacks the necessary experience or training to work safely. In this case, they will benefit greatly from health and safety courses which are appropriate to the type of work they are involved in. For example, workers/managers in the construction industry would benefit from attending construction courses such as the NEBOSH Construction Certificate, and the CITB SMSTS and SSSTS qualifications. If they lack experience, they will need close supervision and would benefit from 'shadowing' a more experienced and competent co-worker who can show and teach them how to do tasks both correctly and safely.
So health and safety competence is a combination of a person's character and health and safety training. By combining training courses with workers who are able to retain and use the knowledge taught, you can create a workforce which will be able to reduce the chances of an accident or incident occurring. There is no substitute for experience though, so if a person also has many years of experience in working in the particular industry, they should also be able to assist other less experienced colleagues, provided that they do not also pass on any bad habits or incorrect working practices that have become entrenched in their way of working over the years!
Combining Health and Safety Training with Job-Specific Training
Many workers will require some form of job-specific training when they begin a new job at a company or switch roles within an existing one. This will teach them what to do in their new task, as well as providing instructions on how to operate machinery. This is especially important in many industries where equipment is used such as the construction industry where workers will be using a variety of equipment which can pose a danger to their wellbeing such as pneumatic drills and excavators. For these construction workers job-specific training can be combined with qualifications like the NEBOSH Construction Certificate, SMSTS or SSSTS certificates to enable them to identify hazards and work more safely on site.
Job-specific training should be combined with health and safety training as the two nearly always go hand-in-hand. This is because the health and safety of the operator and those nearby in the vicinity, whether it is fellow workers or members of the public, will depend upon the correct and safe operation of the equipment at all times, as well as knowing the emergency procedures and learning information such as the location of emergency stop buttons. The two are so intertwined that health and safety training can often be provided at the same time as job-specific training provided that the person providing the training is competent in both.
For more information regarding health and safety training and the courses we offer whether it be a NEBOSH General Certificate, IOSH Managing Safely course or a bespoke training programme, please call us on 0844 800 3295 or click on the 'Contact' tab at the top of the page to get in touch.