Building an effective health and safety training programme

Training session

If you were to put together a checklist of best practice things companies should consider, health and safety training will no doubt feature on the list somewhere. However providing effective health and safety training should not be merely another tick in the box.

Tailored to the needs

The fact is that health and safety training is only truly worthwhile as long as it meets the needs of the workplace and workforce. A programme that is poorly thought out might only serve to heighten risks that already exist or fail to engage the people you are trying to protect from the outset.

So, when putting a health and safety programme together what elements should you consider? Although not exhaustive, here are a few ideas –

  • What tasks require training? – Much of what needs to be assessed may be obvious but it is worth compiling a list to make sure that all bases are covered. It’s easy to miss out something that is important and leaves the business vulnerable.
  • Detail the required training elements – Make sure that training is effective and easy for people to understand. You need employees to show a degree of competency and proof that the information has been digested.
  • Make training interesting – It’s not enough just to simply impart information on a wing and a prayer. You need to devise a way in which you can engage those who are being trained. You want to deliver training that promotes thought and open discussion and requires attendees to actually do something.
    Testing knowledge rather than simply delivering a monologue will retain interest and engagement. Breaking content down into specific topics such as Emergency Action Plans, Fire Prevention, Hazard Communication and Personal Protective Equipment will help.
  • Make safety the process itself – You don’t exactly have all the time in the world to train employees in the ways of health and safety and at some point they need to go back to being productive. This makes it more important that training is effective and efficient. It may be worth to try and make the idea of safety a general part of the working day, and by visiting people in their work situations you administer refresher training on the hoof, training that is personalised, bite-sized and targeted to specific situations and potential hazards. You might also look to introduce a safety element to departmental meetings just to keep awareness high and the subject at the forefront of employees minds.

It’s not just about content

It’s essential for any business to make health and safety programmes effective and informative. It’s not just about the content either! You should also be thinking about how to maintain the effectiveness ongoing, building in capacity for updates and constant monitoring. You should also consider how best to manage processes going forward too. Should staff members be responsible for passing on reminders and new information to other colleagues? Should regular refresher sessions take place to keep everyone upto date with changes and modifications?

The truth is that it depends on the nature and size of the business. Safety Forward can help to assess what steps should be taken to ensure that health and safety training is effective and relevant to any business. We can also offer advice on how best to go forward and help to keep health and safety up to date and accessible to everyone in your organisation.