Importance of Health & Safety Training
September 5, 2019
Article courtesy of MRS Training & Rescue
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 states that employers must provide employees with instruction, information and the training required to ensure their health and safety. Adhering to these regulations should reduce the chance of employees suffering from workplace injuries.
Abiding by health and safety regulations and providing safety training to employees is so important within all industries, as it prevents injuries and major accidents. Not only this but an employer has legal responsibilities so would be liable for any injuries caused in the workplace, if full training is not conducted. This could result in hefty pay-outs in compensation or fines. So, both employers and employees will benefit from maintaining health and safety standards in the workplace.
There many are potential risks in all workplaces, from being a pilot in control of a plane, to an office worker sat at a desk. Whilst the dangers of working in an office are less critical, they are still very much existent. These potential hazards could consist of; slipping on a wet surface which hasn’t been cleared up or sign posted to alert employees. Falling down flights of stairs or tripping over loose wires which haven’t been taped to the floor or highlighted as a potential risk. Any minor injuries caused by slips, trips and falls must be reported and documented. In the event that an employee is injured, it is required that a first aid kit is available. Also, a first aid trained member of staff is required to be on hand in case of emergency.
There are also more potentially dangerous workplaces such as construction, roofing or renewable energy, which involve employees working at heights. When working at height there are automatic risks, such as falling, which can cause fatal injuries. Therefore, employees working at height should be fully trained and complete the necessary safety training courses to protect them from potential risks. For dangerous workplaces involving height there are a range of full courses specialised for each industry.
There are also other ways of staying safe when working at height provided the necessary training has been completed. This includes using vital protective equipment and safety workwear, such as, high visibility clothing so workers can be seen from distances or in poor visibility. Also, helmets should be worn to prevent injuries to the head whether that be banging it on a low hanging piece of equipment such as a ladder or scaffolding or having something dropped on their head from someone working above. Harnesses can also be used to attach workers to a secure and stable place. Tool lanyards can be used so tools aren’t dropped on people standing or walking below. Other equipment used to prevent injury includes fall arrest systems and horizontal lifelines. All safety equipment must be inspected before use.
Another potentially dangerous workplace is a confined space for example a mine or a manhole. In these instances, employees will need a whole different set of skills to anything mentioned above. Hence, there are training courses specifically for working in confined spaces and what to do in the event of an emergency situation. Employees will need the necessary training in operating safety equipment used when working in confined spaces. For example, in some confined spaces breathing apparatus may be required if the level of oxygen is too low or if there are toxic gases present in the air. A gas detector can be used to detect the presence of toxic gases.
Fire safety is a big responsibility for employers as fires are preventable but can be devastating if not extinguished safely and quickly. The safety procedure in case of a fire at work is to have an allocated fire officer to evacuate employees to the designated fire assembly point. In some workplace’s fires are more common than others, so employees may need to be fire safety trained to extinguish a fire before it causes irreversible damage or spreads. Fires can cause life-long lasting injuries and even death so taking fire safety management seriously is extremely vital. Many workplaces will carry out regular fire drills to ensure all employees are aware of the safety procedures.
Employees need to be trained in manual handling because it can be extremely dangerous. In fact, manual handling is the most common cause of accidents and injuries in the workplace. The main reason being that employees have not been taught the correct techniques for carrying heavy loads and therefore incurring back injuries.
In every workplace a risk assessment must be carried out to acknowledge any potential hazards. This ensures a solution is found in advance or employees are warned about the dangers of completing the task at hand. This is so important since there have been many instances where an employee has not been made aware of a fragile surface whilst constructing or fixing a building. This has sadly led to the employee falling, causing critical injuries and, in some cases, even death. To prevent this happening heavy planning and organisation must be enforced to ensure there are no mishaps whilst completing a task. Employees performing potentially dangerous tasks must be competent and well trained in the field.