Training is a health and safety essential, says Andy Smith, Sales Director at HSS Training.

Whilst the number of serious accidents in the facilities management sector may have been falling steadily over the last couple of years thanks to improvements in health and safety training and awareness,
there are still too many incidences. According to Health & Safety Executive statistics, 27 million days were lost overall in 2011/12 due to work-related ill health or injury. Even more cause for concern is that in 2012/13, 133 workers died at work. While accidents will of course occur, there is little doubt that many of these fatalities could have been avoided if better care and attention had been taken.

The truth is it’s everyone’s responsibility to minimise the chances of accidents occurring; workers must take due responsibility for themselves, managers must ensure adequate training is provided for all team members and those who supply equipment must ensure that it is properly maintained, that it is safe for use and that users receive training in how to use the equipment. Generally, people are aware of their surroundings (and surrounding hazards) and to some extent can use their instincts to keep out of harm’s way. However, accidents do still occur (as the figures above show) both at home and in the workplace an particularly in certain work environments and when equipment is bought into the equation – which is why appropriate training is an essential. As Sales Director at HSS Training, it is my job to make sure that workers remain safe whilst working with potentially dangerous tools or equipment, by providing them with the correct training to avoid would-be accidents.

Financially, training saves you time and money. The initial output is relatively small when you take into account the benefits; fewer days lost due to ill health, a reduction in insurance premiums and a reduction in compensation claims. But this is all relative in comparison to the moral duties for employees’ health and safety, which should absolutely be the first priority for any employer or manager. By investing in training and formal assessment, you are investing in your workforce’s future – not only are you allowing them to complete their work in a more effective manner, you are also minimising risk to their health.

The need for specialisation has resulted in a huge surge in the introduction of bespoke training schemes across the UK. Taking the important legislative regulations of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 into account, ALL employers must train their employees to satisfactory levels for the task at hand: “the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees”.

Here at HSS, training is an area where we’ve seen considerable growth over the past few years. Alongside a comprehensive range of off the shelf training solutions for all scenarios, we've developed a number of bespoke training courses - marrying existing skills, customer needs and industry knowledge to produce pragmatic and user-friendly courses that complement the individuals job description and responsibilities. This has all been possible thanks to our close working relationship with those we have equipment hire contracts with. Our account managers take the time to understand their customers, and as a result are familiar with the ins and outs of their businesses and business needs.

It is important that all training courses are officially recognised by an awarding body – so you can rest assured they cover all aspects of the training required in sufficient detail – particularly so given that proving compliance is becoming ever more important. Working closely with our clients, The Health & Safety Executive and awarding bodies, we have developed a suite of over 240 courses across areas such as; Workplace Safety, Work at Height, Health & Safety, Rail and Industry Passport Schemes – all of which are officially recognised by the appropriate and official awarding body.

Our H&S courses have been formulated to cover anything from harness training, first aid, working in confined spaces and safety management and are developed to respond directly to workers’ needs. We can deliver these courses at one of our specialist training facilities, or on site. To complement our tutor led courses we also offer a range of e-learning courses, 72 titles in total, these are designed to support and enhance the learning process. We refer to this as ‘blended’ learning, meaning we provide practical tutorials alongside e-learning modules, to ensure the most efficient and effective ways to learn.

By undertaking a piece of individualised learning, employees can apply theoretical health and safety knowledge into every day practice – by synergising nature and nurture, through efficient and pragmatic processes, training professionals can work towards reducing injuries at work and improving health and safety records.

Always ask
As affiliate members of USHA, we want to support as best we can to ensure safe practices are carried out in the workplace. We want to work with you to reduce the number of work place accidents, making your facilities a safer place for everyone that uses them, so if you have a question, please don’t be afraid to ask!