In the UK, we’re fortunate to have health and safety laws that are designed to protect us at work. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 outlines the responsibilities of all employers towards their employees and members of the public. But it’s important to note that health and safety is everyone’s responsibility, which means all employees need to play their part to maintain health and safety at work, to protect themselves and others around them.
This is why it’s important that all new recruits are well-versed in the health and safety procedures of your workplace. This is not only crucial for their well-being but for the overall success of your organisation too.
Take a look at some of the ways you can get your new recruits up to speed on health and safety so that they can put health and safety first.
The importance of health and safety training
Health and safety training is more than just a compliance requirement; it's an essential component of creating a safe and productive work environment. Here are some reasons why getting new starters up to speed on health and safety matters:
Accidents can happen in any workplace. However, with proper training, new employees can learn how to identify potential hazards and take precautions to prevent accidents, reducing the risk of injury. It’s important that new employees are taught how health and safety affect a business, and the role they play in maintaining safety.
In the UK, employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment. Ensuring new recruits are aware of health and safety legislation in the workplace helps your organisation meet these legal requirements.
When employees feel confident in their ability to navigate the workplace safely, they perform better. Comprehensive health and safety training instils confidence in new recruits, which can lead to increased productivity. It can also help them avoid making mistakes, giving them the chance to ask questions
Workplace accidents can result in costly bills, compensation claims, and potential damage to your company's reputation. Proper training can significantly reduce these financial risks, helping everyone stay safe on the job.
Onboarding new employees
New employees should be given a detailed health and safety induction, ensuring they learn everything they need to know to do their jobs safely. Incorporating health and safety elements into your onboarding process is the easiest way to do this. Here are some suggestions for how this could work:
Health and safety introductions
Begin with a thorough health and safety introduction. Introduce new employees to the workplace layout, emergency exits, and the location of safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and first-aid kits. If employees are going to be wearing their own health and safety gear, they will need to be provided with this or shown where it is stored.
If required, provide training on how to conduct risk assessments. Teach new starters how to identify potential hazards in their work area and how to record them properly. You may want to offer bespoke risk assessment training to ensure they carry out risk assessments according to your own rules and procedures.
Policies and procedures
Familiarise new employees with your company's health and safety policies and procedures. Make sure they understand how to access these documents for reference.
Explain your fire safety evacuation procedures, including details of any regular drills. Emphasise the importance of following evacuation routes and assembly points, and make them aware of where they can find this information – usually via signage around the workplace.
Train new employees on how to use safety equipment properly, including personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, helmets, and safety goggles.
Robust accident reporting procedures can help make your workplace safer. Encourage new recruits to report any safety concerns or incidents promptly. Create an environment where reporting is seen as a proactive measure, not a sign of incompetence.
Different roles will carry different health and safety concerns, so it’s important to provide any role-specific training to ensure health and safety regulations are followed.
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