When any new person starts at an organisation, they should be provided with induction training which instructs them in the essential information that’s needed to help them settle into their new surroundings and job role. A large part of this induction training will cover health and safety issues, as being safe in the workplace (for the new starters as well as their work colleagues), is one of the most important priorities for an organisation or business.
Showing the new person around will be one of the first tasks completed on an induction training programme in order to familiarise them with their new surroundings. On this tour, things like emergency exits, location of safety equipment and alarm activation points, emergency assembly points, shut-off points (e.g. fuel, electricity) and other important information will be pointed out and explained. Many companies will ask employees to sign a document which states that they have received this training to cover themselves should the employee make a compensation claim in the future and say that they were never made aware of these vital safety items/features.
Induction training should also introduce the employee to the firm’s health and safety policy, the accident reporting procedure of the company and the specific health hazards they are most at risk of encountering whilst doing their new job. These risks will vary greatly depending upon the nature of the work involved and the particular industry (for example, a worker on an oil refinery will face extremely different working conditions and risks to a worker in an office).
Health and safety training, whether it be induction training for new staff or for existing employees, should not be viewed as isolated, one-off events. For the creation of a truly safe working environment, it must be provided at regular intervals or when there has been a fundamental change to the operating procedures or workplace. Training at regular intervals is necessary because information will fade over time from people’s memories, and it is important that it is regularly refreshed. When operating procedures or the layout of the workplace changes, relevant training is also vital. New equipment will have its own risks and dangers if operated incorrectly, so appropriate training in its use is required. A change in the workplace also prompts new training. For example, extensions to the building or a re-design of the factory floor could mean emergency exits have moved. Workers will need to be made aware of the new locations of the exits, as well as any printed material or diagrams updated.
Induction training will often just provide the basics and the essential information with regards to health and safety. The new employee will be bombarded with so much information when they start that much of it may be forgotten. Regular and more extensive health and safety training is necessary in order to keep it in their memory, as well as ensuring their knowledge and working practices are up-to-date, in order to ensure a safe working environment for themselves and those around them.