Online health and safety training is a growing trend for many business owners across the UK. Any organisation with employees must provide their workers with relevant training and also demonstrate that this training took place, according to UK law.
By choosing e-learning options for this training, employers are able to fulfill this legal duty cheaply and effectively. Online options provide employees with the same vital knowledge of workplace risks and controls to work safely. But training is not tied to the restrictions of a classroom setting. Workers can study anywhere and as frequently as needed.
At the completion ofa virtual health and safety course, workers also earn the same health and safety certificates that they would from a classroom course. So, employers are able to demonstrate regulatory compliance.
The legal importance of health and safety certificates
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the foundation of UK health and safety law. This legislation outlines the general health and safety responsibilities that employers have to the public, their employees and themselves.
The act requires employers to provide employees with suitable information and training for the work they will undertake, regardless of their occupation. It takes a common-sense approach by qualifying these responsibilities ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’.
This legislation also assigns legal duties to employees, requiring them to work without causing harm to themselves or others, follow any instruction provided, and co-operate with any measures their employer has in place to work safely.
The 1974 act was further clarified by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. These regulations detail the responsibilities of employers. For example, an employer must complete a workplace risk assessment.
Additionally, there are many industry specific pieces of health and safety legislation covering areas of risk such as manual handling procedures, noise hazards, protective equipment, dangerous substances, and so on. You can find more information on health and safety legislation at the UK Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) website.
The gist of all this legislation is that employers must protect their employees from hazards in their work environment. If a hazard such as noise is present, it must be assessed: How loud is it? Is it harmful? Who might be affected?
Employers must then find ways to control the hazard, so that it is unlikely to cause significant harm. For instance, will ear defenders sufficiently protect your workers from harm? What quality of ear defenders do you need?
But, as an employer, it is not enough to simply hand out ear defenders. You must also inform your employees of this entire process. It is vital that they receive training on the hazards that they face, and how they are being controlled.
Employees must also understand their own legal duties when it comes to health and safety.
Failure to make certain that your employees have receivedcertified health and safety training can result in heavy financial penalties and/or criminal charges.
Online training providers like Human Focus offer a comprehensive list of health and safety courses to help employers comply with legislation and make workplaces safer. These e-learning modules cover a broad range of topics relevant to most business and industry sectors.
Certified Health & Safety Training Makes Good Business Sense
Ensuring that your employees have the right level of training is not just a legal requirement, it also makes good business sense. More than 200 people die each year due to occupational accidents, while one million suffer injuries and over two million suffer illnesses worsened by work, according to the HSE.
This amounts to a significant price tag. The total cost of accidents and ill health amounted to £16.2 billion in 2018/19. Nearly 60% of these costs fell on the individual affected, while the remaining 40% was divided between employers and the government.
Organisations that fail to prioritise health and safety in the workplace are more likely to see cases of sickness absence, fines for breaches in the law, and increased costs due to accidents, as well as unwanted attention from the public or the media.
On the other hand, demonstrating to employees that their health and safety is important comes with a wide range of benefits. It will boost workplace morale and support a better working environment overall.
Employees that have received relevant health and safety training are more aware of workplace dangers and so are less likely to be injured. They also understand how to report vital information, such as near misses or potential health and safety problems that need rectifying. This further reduces the chance of an incident occurring.
Initiating health and safety training will not only help you to avoid the financial penaltiesthat come with non-compliance, it will also make your employees feel valued and give you a safer and more welcoming workplace.
What types of online health and safety courses are there?
Whether you work in a bank or a kindergarten, operate machinery or drive a lorry, you can find an appropriateonline health and safety training course for your workplace.
There are generally three types of health and safety training courses:
- Induction courses, which educate new employees on the general health and safety concerns of the workplace
- Refresher courses, which maintain skills and knowledge for existing employees
- Specific courses, which cover specialised areas of health and safety, such as working with asbestos or behavioural safety courses
Employers may wish to provide their employees with basic first aid or general health and safety courses, or they can choose to offer a variety of modules.