Training for a safe workplace

Many people think that, in order to train people, they must attend a formal training session in a classroom environment, however, that isn’t really true.  People learn by many different methods from reading a poster to learning by doing.

  • People learn from reading posters, signs and written procedures.
  • They can learn by working with an experienced colleague who will ‘show them the ropes’.  This used to be known as ‘sitting by Nellie’.
  • In today’s technological age some things can be learned by using a computer as a learning aid.
  • Formal courses to acquire qualifications also contribute to competence.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASWA) requires the employer to provide instruction, information and training.  In many places the Act also refers to a ‘Competent Person’.

Competence depends not only on the capability of an individual, but on the appropriateness of that capability to the particular task in hand. A simple mnemonic to apply to competency is KEPT

  • Knowledge
  • Experience
  • Personal attributes
  • Training and qualifications

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, reg.13(2) (MHSWR) states that adequate health and safety training must be provided whenever it is most likely to be needed.  This includes:

  • On first starting with the organisation (Induction)
  • On the change of function / new responsibilities within the organisation
  • On the introduction of new work equipment / a change of the current work equipment / new technology into the work of the staff
  • On the introduction of new systems of work or processes or a significant change those already in existence

The regulations also state that the training is repeated periodically – although no time scale is suggested – this indicates that it’s important to refresh skills and knowledge at regular intervals.  This will depend on the risk levels relating to the activities – the higher the risk, the more frequently training will be needed.

Not only should training take place, but records of training – the programme, the attendees, the date and what was covered – must be kept for at least three years.

Common sense dictates that a training plan for all staff relating to their roles, skills, safety, responsibilities and changing legislation should be put in place and regularly updated.

Chris Hilder

The first Safety Games!

We’re asked to do some unusual things from time to time and this article that was published in Safety Management (published with permission) demonstrates one of our unique consultancy projects.

Superyacht manufacturer holds shipshape Safety Olympics

On a sunny day in August, Pendennis Worldclass Superyachts one of Cornwall’s largest employers and a member of the British Safety Council, held a day of interactive safety games followed by the British Safety Council’s level 1 examination. Based in Falmouth Docks, Pendennis is one of the world’s leading builders of superyachts and provider of refit facilities.  The company employs around 350 staff who work in a variety of environments.  Those working on the yachts face a number of hazards, ranging from dangerous chemicals to working at height and manual handling. The 200 staff that took part in the day were divided into teams of five and send around a circuit, participating in games and activities to teach them about key health and safety issues that they face, but in a fun and engaging way. Each workstation was supervised by a manager and covered one of the main syllabus points of the level 1 course.  Against a backdrop of sailing vessels on the calm harbour water, staff tested the accuracy of their aim with fire extinguishers; others played snakes and ladders to highlight the legal aspect of health and safety, whilst some play darts to learn about the dangers of hazardous chemicals. After a busy morning the workers – who ranged from apprentice joiners to admin staff – sat their level 1 exam. The consultancy Risk and Safety Plus helped produce the original games plan and timetabling.  This was then taken by the supervisors who developed the content of the games.  “The expected outcome here was a culture change,” says Malcolm Tullett, director of Risk and Safety Plus.  “Pendennis Worldclass Superyachts has taken on board the fact that all its staff need to be involved.  We talked to all of the managers, nearly 60 of them, and they were the ones who put this together today.  They’ve done a really good job.”

Nigel Strawbridge, health and safety adviser at Pendennis says “Our people make Pendennis what it is – an award winning superyacht company.  Our commitment to their safety in the workplace is paramount to ensuring their wellbeing as well as a happy and well-trained organisation.  Health and safety is vital to this and working with organisations like the British Safety Council and Risk and Safety Plus on innovative projects like this demonstrates our consistent approach.”

If you’d like to know more about this kind of event please contact us on 0845 430 9461 for more information.