As an employer, you have a duty of care to protect the health and safety of your workers. Your responsibilities span from assessing risks to controlling hazards that could cause harm to employees and other stakeholders, such as customers and site visitors. You also have an obligation to keep staff aware of safety threats and instruct how to handle them.
While businesses have a clear brief to protect their team, creating a secure working environment is a collaborative effort. Your employees are also accountable for maintaining safety standards. The HSE advises colleagues to:
- Follow the training they have received when using any work items provided by their employer
- Take reasonable care of their own and other people’s health and safety
- Co-operate with their employer on health and safety
- Tell someone (their employer, supervisor or health and safety representative) if they think the work or inadequate precautions are putting anyone’s health and safety at serious risk
Accident and injury prevention requires commitment and communication on both sides. A robust, ongoing training programme is the ideal starting point, building staff safety buy-in and the knowledge needed for consistent compliance.
Recent prosecutions – the critical importance of workplace safety training
The HSE’s Summary Statistics for Great Britain 2020 reports that 111 employees were killed at work during 2019-2020, while 693,000 people sustained an injury. Lack of experience and training can exacerbate existing risks, placing employees in increased danger. Recent HSE prosecutions demonstrate that proper instruction and safety awareness can make a life-or-death difference.
- A major airline was fined £1.8 million and ordered to pay costs of £35,724 after a worker was involved in a collision at Heathrow Airport. The employee endured severe injuries when she was struck by a site vehicle and knocked under a passing luggage transporter. The HSE called the accident ‘an incident waiting to happen’, highlighting ‘significant failings’ across general health and safety management, risk assessment and training.
- A paper making company received an £89,600 fine when an employee suffered life-changing hand injuries while operating a paper punching machine. A lack of correct controls caused her fingers to be crushed, and later, partially amputated. An HSE investigation revealed a catalogue of safety errors and stated that neither the employer nor her supervisor had received adequate training, had sight of the operating manual or been briefed on the safe system of work.
- A manufacturing business was sentenced for exposing workers to asbestos fibres. Despite receiving repeated warnings about importing asbestos-containing products, the company continued to flaunt regulations. They were prosecuted after allowing an untrained employee to remove gaskets on a generator set, releasing asbestos fibres into an area where two other colleagues were working. The organisation was fined £22,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,062.
Bespoke safety training solutions
Every business has evolving training needs, so you need a programme that grows with you – from H&S basics to specialist accreditations. Southalls’ flexible learning solutions shape your new starters’ safety knowledge and refresh the skills of your more seasoned staff.
Choose from face-to-face courses at your workplace or a local facility or discover the online possibilities of Safety Cloud, our customisable compliance management tool. With Safety Cloud, your team has 24/7 access to a suite of training options, and you enjoy an end-to-end view of performance, milestones and deadlines.
Our course catalogue includes:
- IOSH Managing Safely
- IOSH Working Safely
- IOSH Builders Merchants Yard & Warehouse Safety
- Safety in Metal Processing and Stockholding
- Builders Merchant Managers and Core Person training
- First Aid at Work
- HABC Level 2 and Level 3 Food Hygiene accreditations
- Manual Handling
- Working at Height
- Asbestos Awareness
- Workplace Transport
- Fire Warden training, and more