Education, education, education - Safety training basics

Basic Workplace Safety Training

In the modern workplace it can often seem like there’s a never ending stream of legislation to abide by that requires endless amounts of training, but in reality most of what’s required depends on the industry you work in and specific risks that employees face.

At the very least, all employers should have basic first aid and fire procedures in place and meet the requirements of The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This means making health and safety part of someone’s job role who has the necessary skills and knowledge to manage the company’s obligations.

All employers with five or more employees must have a written health and safety policy stating who does what, when and how. This should also include a risk assessment detailing potential hazards and explaining how they can be minimised.

If work equipment is used, then The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) is one of several pieces of legislation that requires that only those who have received relevant training are able to use and work on the equipment.

When it comes to first aid, as part of The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, even a small, low-risk workplace should have a first aid kit and have an appointed person to ensure that it remains well stocked and who can take charge of first aid arrangements.

Employers with between 25 and 50 employees need at least one trained employee who is qualified in emergency first aid at work and larger organisations should have one qualified member of staff for every 100 employees. In high-risk environments, all businesses with more than five employees need a qualified first aider and at least one trained person for every 50 employees.

Until recently first aid training providers were approved by the HSE but this changed in October 2013 to give employers more choice in who can provide their training. However, this also means that employers need to undertake a degree of due diligence when it comes to selecting a training provider.

Similarly, when it comes to fire safety, either employers or building owners should have an up to date fire safety risk assessment and ensure that appropriate safety measures are in place as well as making sure that staff and visitors are aware of the risks and procedures.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 covers general fire safety in England and Wales and in Scotland it falls under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

Although they won’t carry out the risk assessment for you, your local fire service will often be able to give you advice and information about exactly what’s required as well as providing training in everything from being an effective fire warden through to using fire extinguishers.

Ensuring that safety basics are adhered to goes a long way towards the protection of employees, it is vital that the relevant safety training is carried out and maintained and organisations are able to prove that health and safety regulations are adhered to.