Why health and safety training is vital for the workplace

Even before COVID19, there were plenty of good reasons for implementing effective health and safety training. They all still apply at least as much. What’s more, at present all employees need guidance on how to do their job safely in a COVID19 environment. This includes home-workers. Here is what you need to know.

It helps keep you on the right side of the law

You have a duty of care to your employees. This basically means that you have to do what you can to keep them healthy and safe at work. Since neither you nor your management team can be right beside all your employees at all times, you need to ensure that they know what to do to keep themselves safe. In other words, you need to provide them with appropriate health and safety training.

It helps reassure your staff

It’s common knowledge that people who are nervous about making mistakes are at higher risk of doing so. By contrast, people who are confident in their ability to perform tasks are more likely to perform them correctly.

Giving your staff appropriate health and safety training means they understand not just what they need to do but also why they need to do it. This builds confidence and reassures them that they can make any necessary adjustments if they encounter non-standard situations.

It helps reassure your customers

Keeping your staff healthy and safe is a prerequisite to keeping your customers healthy and safe. The food industry has long displayed health and safety (food hygiene) information to reassure customers. Now, essentially any public-facing business is going to have to convince customers that it operates to the very highest standards of health and safety.

It allows you to address issues at an early stage

Untrained staff may be unaware of workplace health and safety issues which need to be addressed. Alternatively, they may simply have a gut feeling that something is wrong but not be able to identify what it is. Even if they can identify the issue, they may be nervous about speaking out for fear of repercussions. This last point could be a particularly serious issue given the current economic climate.

Giving staff health and safety training helps them to identify any issues which need to be addressed. What’s more, it sends out a message that a company is genuinely committed to providing a healthy and safe work environment and welcomes their participation in that endeavour.

It can save you money and reputational damage

The most obvious way health and safety training can save you money is on lower insurance premiums. Other ways health and safety training can save you money include avoiding penalties for breaches (and legal costs for dealing with compensation claims), lower staff absence rates, lower staff turnover and better morale and productivity.

In addition to all of the above, making sure your staff have appropriate and effective health and safety training can help to avoid the reputational damage of being called out for a breach. This can be a lot more damaging than any financial penalty, especially in today’s climate.

Peter Watson