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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Training and Competence

  • 13 May 2016 - 13:01

    I often get asked what training do people need when they join a company. As with most questions, it could be answered with, ‘well it depends’, but would this really help? I believe that a good induction into a company is time well spent. The employee will settle into the business far quicker and will start to feel some ownership towards the company at an earlier stage. Even a 15-minute induction on day one is better than nothing, but something with a bit more structure could prove more beneficial. 

    The induction should cover more than just health and safety and should give an insight into the company’s beliefs and aims. It should be spread over a number of days and should include a review with a manager after a few weeks.

    On day one it is important to run through the really significant risks in a business and how they are controlled. The basic health and safety rules should be explained and you should get some form of confirmation that the employee has been paying attention (hopefully no snoring). The employee’s direct manager should be involved in explaining the emergency procedures.

    Further days should focus in on the main policies and processes, an introduction to key personnel on site, including safety representatives if they are present. 

    As far ongoing training is concerned, then the following training courses would form a good basis for most organizations:

    • Risk assessment;
    • Manual handling;
    • Office safety;
    • General health and safety awareness;
    • COSHH; and
    • Fire safety.

    Obviously, there will be some other training and assessment needs if people do welding, drive or operate machinery or work at height/in confined spaces.

    For more proactive organizations, the following could be considered:

    • Employees: One-day IOSH Working Safely
    • Supervisors: Two-day SSSTS or three-day CIEH health and safety courses
    • Managers: IOSH Managing Safely (four day) or SMSTS (five day)
    • Directors: IOSH Leading or Directing Safely (one day)

    You may also wish to train an employee to become your competent health and safety advisor. To do this consider the NEBOSH General certificate and then a NEBOSH Diploma (there are many other equivalent courses on the IOSH website).

    Whatever you consider, make sure it is well planned and if you do decide to arrange courses, make sure people attend. If you run a course for eight people and only six turn up, the course has increased in cost by 25%. In what other part of your business would you allow that to occur without some serious questions being asked? 

    Finally, there is a difference between training and competence. 

    Training is when you receive some input from a colleague or manager, or on a bespoke or accredited course. Competence is when you are able to demonstrate the learning in the workplace in a positive fashion. Make sure your training providers challenge your employees to demonstrate that competence – get them to walk the walk. 

    If you would like an ‘Excel’ training matrix that you can adapt for your business , please drop me a line at: [email protected]


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