Guidance Note 17 – Health and safety training

This Guidance Note gives practical information about health & safety training.

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Legal obligations

A general duty for all employees to be trained as necessary to ensure their health and safety, so far as reasonably practicable, is contained in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Further requirements are contained within the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999; and many other health and safety regulations also contain specific requirements for training.


In basic terms, an employer needs to ensure that their employees are competent to safely carry out their work. While there is no specific definition of ‘competent’, there are a number of factors which can be used to demonstrate competency, including:

CPD can be developed in a number of ways, such as self-led reading and research, an inhouse planned programme of seminars or tool box talks, mentoring, formal skills-based training programmes such as NVQs, and any form of training from third party providers which can be classed-based, on site assessments, or e-learning etc.

The benefits of an effective training programme

Developing and implementing an effective training programme provides a number of benefits, such as:

Developing an effective training programme

Making the training programme effective requires the presence of three necessary conditions:

It is also important that the management team demonstrates support by setting a good example: it is pointless to train workers to obey safety rules if supervisors are known to ignore them.

The development of the training programme needs to contain the following steps:

There are five types of health and safety training:

1. New employee induction

New employees are known to be more likely to have accidents than those who have had time to recognise the hazards of the workplace. Formal health and safety training must form part of the new employee’s induction programme. Training must also take place when job conditions change and result in exposure to new or increased risks.

The key points that should be covered in induction training are:

An example of an induction training checklist is attached at the end of this document (Appendices 1 & 2).

2. Job-specific training

Job-specific training should include skills training, explanations of applicable safety regulations and organisational rules, and a demonstration of the use of any personal protective equipment that may be required including correct fit and cleaning. There should be a review of applicable emergency and evacuation procedures. The use of risk assessment findings is a valuable training aid. This training may be carried out by a supervisor or designated trainer. It should be properly planned and organised by the use of appropriate checklists. Documenting a record of training is considered good practice and may be required to demonstrate compliance should an enforcement officer visit. An example of an individual training record is available at the end of this document (Appendix 3).

3. Supervisory and management training

Supervisory and management training at all levels is necessary to ensure that responsibilities are known and the organisation’s policy is carried out. It is not sufficient to simply tell them that they are responsible for health and safety; they must be told the extent of their responsibilities and how they can discharge them. Key points to cover in the training of supervisors and managers are:

Supervisors and managers should attend health and safety courses as appropriate to their position. These may be on a specific topic, such as Risk Assessment, or of a more general nature such as Managing Safely. Selected staff may need to attend professional training courses leading to a formal qualification, such as those administered by the National Examinations Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH). This is of particular relevance for the person(s) designated as health and safety adviser(s) in the organisation.

4. Specialised training

Specialised health and safety training will be required to cover some legislative requirements and aid the safe running of the organisation, for example:

5. Reinforced or refresher training

Reinforcement or refresher training will be required at appropriate intervals. The frequency of refresher will depend on the following factors:

Refresher training is vital in safety critical areas, such as response to plant emergencies, unexpected release of asbestos etc.


Further Guidance