As an employer, you have several responsibilities to your staff. We aren’t just talking about the coffee levels or making sure there’s plenty of biscuits. It’s more the big stuff, like keeping them safe at work and managing health and safety risks.
The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone – by educating staff on the rules and regulations, they can play their part too. Here’s why learning and development is really important for employee safety.
What is employee learning and development?
Employee learning and development can come in lots of different forms. There’s job-specific training that helps them develop in their role. There can be general training on educational topics that helps them with their overall education – and can include some slightly fun stuff. Then there is specific learning and development – one of the big ones here is health and safety.
The statistics are stark – over 200 people a year are killed in accidents in work. Terrifyingly too, over 1 million people are injured and 2 million suffer from illness either caused by their work or made worse by it. Now, not all of these can be prevented because, let’s face it, the definition of accidents is that they are unexpected and unforeseen.
However, there are ways to reduce the risk of accidents so the workplace is as safe as possible for employees. Cutting down those risks means you don’t end up in the local newspaper as a workplace injury horror story either! Top of the list of ways to handle this is learning and development.
Modern training approaches
We’ve all been through the classic learning and development. A mind-numbing afternoon, or a full day sat in a classroom style set up, listening to someone talk about the topic, trying to stay awake. You might take notes (and doze a bit) and some of the information would stick with you. And some not so much…
But modern training approaches acknowledge that not everyone learns best in this way, especially as adults. It uses a whole different set of tools to get important information to employees in a way they will actually remember. From cool animated videos to text and even natural sounding voiceover options, the static classroom approach is mostly a thing of the past, thankfully.
What are the main health and safety regulations?
What you need to teach your staff depends a lot on the industry you are in and the types of risks that they can face in their jobs. But there are a few that come in, no matter what type of business you have.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Normally known as ‘Management Regs’ this actually came into effect in 1993 but was updated in 1999. It lists the ‘employer duties’ including things like:
- Carrying out a risk assessment to look at the health and safety of the workforce and take steps to reduce the hazards where possible
- Make sure there’s someone to oversee health and safety in the workplace
- Get workers the training and information they need for their job but also for health and safety matters
- Create a written health and safety policy and make sure it is followed
But the emphasis isn’t totally on the employer. There are also responsibilities for the employee under the act too. For starters, they must take ‘reasonable’ care not to put themselves or others at risk. This includes co-workers and also customers or visitors to the business. So no sliding down the bannister, no matter how enticing it looks!
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
This is the set of regulations that cover the actual workplace and the requirements that employers have to make these safe and comfortable. It covers things like:
- Having ‘adequate’ lighting, heating, ventilation and cleaning systems
- Making sure there are clean and adequate staff facilities (in other words, toilets, washing facilities and a kitchen area)
- Ensure that the passageways are safe, free of tripping hazards and slipping issues
With this act, employees have responsibilities to make use of things provided correctly and not create hazards. For example, if there is cooling, then don't sit in an office until you are so hot you feel like passing out without using it!
Employees also have a duty to report issues that they find to help employers keep on top of problems. So if the toilet isn’t flushing, the kitchen sink is backed up or there’s a leak in the corridor causing a puddle, employees need to report these things. Then action can be taken to remedy the problem.
Why training on rules and regulations is so important to keep employees safe
This is where the right training comes in – educating people on what to do. And often what not to do!
Let’s talk health and safety at work regulations: ‘interfering or misusing’ safety gear is one of the big areas of concern. Fooling around with the safety gear just isn’t a good idea. Put people simply don’t always realise that there are serious consequences to these actions. That’s where the right training can help highlight what’s smart and what isn’t.
Co-operating with their employers to put safety measures into action is another. If an employer sets regulations to protect everyone, it is often important to offer training to staff in the why, as well as the what. This helps them to learn why sticking to the regs and following the rules is important, for themselves and their colleagues.
Getting people to report problems is another reason that training is important. People can fall into the ‘not my problem’ mindset around workplace issues. But the reality is that these issues are everyone’s problem. Anyone could be injured by that broken step or made sick by the leak in the bathroom. The right training can help them see it is important they report problems to the relevant manager. It also helps to get their feedback to improve systems and processes, so they are easier to follow and safer.
Getting the right training in place
At iAM Learning, we offer a modern approach to help businesses get the right training in place for their employees. We cover issues such as health and safety, policy and compliance and even food safety alongside topics such as personal development and behavioural change. So we can teach your staff what to do, why to do it and why it is super important.
Ours is an online platform (you can use your own LMS or ours) that uses the best of modern learning techniques. We also offer a no-obligation free trial for businesses to try out the learning content with your employees. This gives you the chance to get real-time feedback from them on how they find the learning before you decide if it is the right option – and we are sure they will love it. We do!