Training in Health and Safety: Legal Requirement for UK Businesses and Benefits

Health and Safety Training in the UK

It is a legal requirement that businesses provide information and training to enable all staff to work safely. This helps minimise the risk of accidents and incidents which can have a negative impact on business.

It also gives employees the skills and confidence to help deal with any emergency situation. Getting health and safety right can save businesses money in fines and production downtime.

Introduction to Health and Safety

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act, employers have a legal obligation to provide their employees with appropriate health and safety training. This may include a general introduction to workplace risks and controls, specific training in hazardous tasks, and/or training for specific roles like accident reporting and investigation.

A well-developed health and safety programme should be inclusive of all workers, and encourage a positive culture. Employees are more likely to embrace and abide by workplace controls if senior management set the tone and demonstrate that health and safety is of utmost importance to the business.

The type of health and safety training required will depend on the risks identified in a business risk assessment. For example, anyone who works with dangerous chemicals needs to complete chemical safety training. Similarly, all businesses need to have first aid trained staff on hand to deal with an incident quickly and effectively. This can be achieved through online courses such as our Workplace First Aid Online course which complies with HSE guidelines.

Manual Handling

Whether in a warehouse, office or retail environment, employees may find themselves required to move heavy items. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but it does mean that it’s important that those handling these items are doing so safely. This is because manual handling injuries can cost companies a fortune in sick leave, loss of production and fines for failure to comply with health and safety regulations.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 state that employers have a legal responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe, including that workers are not exposed to risks arising from hazardous manual handling tasks. As such, all businesses should carry out a risk assessment of manual handling activities and put in place suitable control measures.

Employees must also abide by the proper work systems and use all equipment provided for their safety. This includes manual handling training. This will reduce the likelihood of injuries caused by twisting, stooping and reaching. Injuries like these are called musculoskeletal disorders and can lead to pain, stiffness and swelling in the back, arms, legs and joints.

Working at Height

Working at height is a common safety concern in many industries. The risk of falling is very real and can result in severe injury or death, which is why there are extensive laws covering it.

Often, workers will need to perform tasks that involve working at height in order to get the job done. This could include work on a roof, from a ladder or on a platform. It could also mean working in an area where there is a risk of falling such as near an opening in the floor, a window or an entrance to a tunnel.

It is important that all employees are aware of these risks and follow company and general safety guidelines when performing this type of work. Conducting regular safety inspections is also essential to help catch potential hazards and keep the workforce safe. Digital checklists can be a great way to do this as they are easy to use and accessible at all times.

Fire Safety

Fire safety is a key health and safety concern in many workplaces. It is important to have training on how to deal with fire hazards and evacuate the building quickly in case of an emergency. A fire is extremely dangerous and can cause severe injuries. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure their employees are trained in this area.

Having a fire safety policy and conducting regular drills can help prevent fires in the workplace. This includes ensuring staff are aware of escape routes and identifying potential hazards in the workplace, such as flammable materials and electrical equipment. Using tools like wayfinding signs and photoluminescent markings can make it easier to locate escape routes in the event of an emergency.

It is also important for those who have been designated fire evacuation marshals to receive more detailed training in their specific role and the emergency procedures in place in their workplace. This can be conducted online and is an effective way to educate individuals about their responsibilities and what they need to do in the event of a fire.

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