Health and safety at work is the responsibility of everyone in the workplace. But as the owner/manager of a business it is your responsibility to ensure that all of your staff are fully aware of their responsibilities. The most effective way to achieve this is through providing training for your workforce. Not only will training in health and safety be beneficial in making sure that you fulfil all of your legal obligations, but by investing in your workforce they will feel valued and will be more productive as a result. There are a wide range of health and safety courses available in an almost bewildering array of subjects. You may already have come across some of them, such as CITB, IOSH, NEBOSH, DSE, SSSTS and SMSTS. We will look at each of these to give you a simple guide to what they are and which are applicable to your business, along with a look at why training your staff effectively is crucial to the success of your business.

The first step is to identify what training is actually required. You need to identify what skills and knowledge your staff need to do their job in a safe way and then compare these to the skills that your staff already have. Any gaps that you identify will form the basis of your training requirements. You should look at any incidents that have already occurred relating to health and safety. Any formal risk assessments that you have undertaken should also have identified areas where training would contribute to reducing risks.

Once you have identified the range of training requirements for your organisation you will need to look at prioritising the training that is required. Your first priority should be to ensure that all of the training that is required by law is put into place, such as first aid training. After that your key considerations should be to identify those areas where a lack of training could result in serious harm; training that benefits the largest number of people, to ensure cost effectiveness; staff changing jobs or undertaking new responsibilities; new recruits and people using new equipment. Comprehensive information on all health and safety issues in the UK can be found at www.hse.gov.uk