Employee Training & Associated Risk

Over 200 people are killed each year in accidents at work and over one million people are injured. Ensuring employees are competent to do their job will help to reduce the risk of accidents. Providing health and safety information and training will help an employer to:

  • ensure employees are not injured or made ill by the work they do 
  • develop a positive health and safety culture, where safe and healthy working becomes second nature to everyone 
  • find out how health and safety can be managed better 
  • meet the legal duty to protect the health and safety of all employees 

Who needs health and safety training? 

Whether an employer or self-employed, it is imperative to keep up to date with how to identify the hazards and control the risks from work. Help with training can be obtained from a relevant trade association, the local Chamber of Commerce, or a health and safety enforcing authority. Consultation with employees, or their representatives, on health and safety issues, is equally beneficial to a safe working environment. 

When a business thinks of training they may automatically consider the training needs of shop floor employees and forget that managers and supervisory staff are as much in need of training as anyone else. All staff of whatever level and self-employed people need to understand the health and safety policy and the arrangements for implementing it. They should know how to work safely, what is expected from them in terms of the policy, what part they play and how they are expected to help deliver a safe environment for all to work in. Staff may also need training in the specific hazards of the company's processes and how risks are expected to be controlled. They also need to know how they can raise any health and safety concerns.  Businesses should:

  • take into account the capabilities, training, knowledge and experience of workers 
  • ensure that the demands of the job do not exceed an employee's ability to carry out their work without risk to themselves and others 

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 identify certain times when health and safety training must be given:

  • New recruits need basic induction training into how to work safely, including arrangements for first aid, fire and evacuation 
  • People changing jobs or taking on extra responsibilities need to know about any new health and safety implications 
  • Young employees are particularly vulnerable to accidents and particular attention should be paid to their needs and their training prioritised. 
  • It is also important that new, inexperienced or young employees are adequately supervised 
  • Some people's skills may need updating by refresher training 

Risk assessments should be an ongoing practice that will identify any further specific training needs. 

Specific Risks 

In addition to general health and safety training, there are also other specific regulations where training is required. One risk in particular that requires training is Manual Handling. Lifting and moving by hand is the main cause of reportable accidents in the 'freight by road' industry.  

Health & Safety Statistics 

Key figures for Great Britain (2018/19):

  • 1.4 million working people suffering from a work-related illness 
  • 2,526 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2017) 
  • 147 workers killed at work 
  • 581,000 working people sustaining an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey 
  • 69,208 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR 
  • 28.2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury 
  • £15 billion estimated costs of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2017/18) 

Training will help to decide what measures may be needed to reduce risk. 

Measures to Reduce Risks 

As it is employees that will be carrying out those tasks that are affected by health and safety, businesses should consider:

  • asking employees about what they consider to be the most hazardous lifting and moving jobs 
  • whether high hazard manual lifting and moving jobs can be avoided, for example by palletising heavy or bulky products 
  • whether a load can be changed to make it easier to carry, for example, smaller packages, providing handles or hand-holds 
  • the use of mechanical aids, such as vehicle-mounted hydraulic hoists, portable roller conveyors, pallet trucks, scissor lifts and customised trolleys; These can save a lot of time and money, as well as saving back injuries and strains 
  • ensuring roll cages are sensibly loaded, properly secured in the vehicle and that pavement access at the delivery end is relatively level and free from potholes and obstructions. Roll cages are commonly involved in manual handling injuries

This is only a brief guide but provides some guidance as to what can be done. For further information, please use the links below.