Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveal that between 2021 and 2022, almost two million workers suffered a work-related illness. HSE data also shows that work-related stress, depression, or anxiety had the biggest impact, affecting over 900,000 people, while musculoskeletal disorders impacted 477,000 workers. More than half a million people also sustained non-fatal injuries at work, while tragically, 123 were killed.
With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that workplace health and safety training is so important. Here, we discuss how training could benefit your business and outline what you can do to help ensure your business protects the health, safety, and wellbeing of its staff.
- What is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974?
- Why is health and safety training beneficial to business?
- What health and safety training courses are there?
- Where can I find IOSH and NEBOSH training?
Health and safety legislation
The Act sets out the main rules that govern workplace health and safety in the UK. It broadly covers the duty of care that employers have towards their staff, that staff have towards each other, and ensuring that the public is safe too.
Firms that break the rules or that are found to be endangering employees with poor practices can be given an unlimited fine. In some instances, guilty parties can also be imprisoned.
Recent examples of health and safety breaches and the fines that followed include:
- A firm in Lancashire was fined £20,000 for failing to conduct an adequate risk assessment or putting in preventative guarding when operating machinery.
- A Welsh health board was fined £160,000 for failing to carry out a risk assessment or provide suitable training.
- Staffordshire Commissioner Fire and Rescue Authority were fined £10,000 for not ensuring work at height training was properly planned, supervised, or carried out safely.
Crucially, these breaches show that prosecution isn’t just focused on extreme violations or where accidents are fatal; inadequate training and risk assessments are taken just as seriously.
Accidents can happen anywhere, in any industry, and in all environments. Slips, trips, and falls aren’t limited to manual jobs, and office staff can be just as vulnerable – all it takes is a wobbly step, loose carpet, or an overcrowded event for an incident to occur.
Minimising the risk of something going wrong isn’t just common sense; tangible benefits also include:
- Fewer sick days – the HSE calculate that more than 36 million working days were lost in 2021-2022 because of work-related illness.
- Reduced financial loss – injuries and illness cost the country nearly £19 billion in 2019-2020.
- Employee retention – staff may be encouraged to stay at firms that take their health and welfare seriously.
- Helps firms avoid penalties – even modest fines can drastically affect business cash flow.
- Lower costs – fewer accidents mean fewer claims, saving firms money in compensation costs and premiums.
- Increased productivity – not only because of fewer sick days but because employees aren’t worrying about safety, they can focus on the task at hand.
While it’s almost impossible to stop all accidents forever, you can minimise the risk of one occurring by providing health and safety training courses for employees. There are several recognised courses that can be taken in-person or online, at a training centre, or in your workplace.
You can also find courses to suit specific roles – for example, fire safety, screen equipment, manual handling, and safer driving. If you’re not sure where to start, consider:
The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is a worldwide organisation dedicated to health and safety professionals based in the UK. Their ‘managing safety’ course provides a general understanding of health and safety in the workplace and is primarily aimed at line managers and supervisors. You can book a place on an IOSH course here.
The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) provides training that leads to vocational qualifications in health and safety. Courses take longer to complete compared to IOSH training, but they offer more comprehensive subject knowledge. For that reason, it’s mainly aimed at employees with more specific health and safety responsibilities. You can book a place on a NEBOSH course here.
For more information about our risk management services and the solutions we can offer, speak to an expert at 01603 967900.