Although the number of injuries at work have reduced considerably over the last decade, the Health and Safety Executive estimates estimates 621,000 workers suffered an accident at work in 2015/16 . Many of these incidences were caused because of inadequate training in the workplace.
There are many regulations in place to ensure that UK businesses are safe places to work, but these rules are only effective if employers ensure that all workers are fully trained in basic safety requirements and the use of equipment in and around the workplace.
Employers have a responsibility to ensure their employees are able to perform their work duties in a safe and efficient manner. In order to do this, they must provide training to all employees who are required to perform certain tasks. This training needs to be provided even if a worker has received training for similar duties with a previous employer.
Employers must take steps to prevent accidents at work, these can include:
- Providing employees with adequate health and safety training. Unskilled and younger workers may need additional training
- All training is kept updated with accurate records of which training has been completed
- Ensuring that workers have the necessary accreditations or qualifications for undertaking a particular task
- Employers have a duty to individually assess a worker’s suitability for a particular task
- Supervisors are able to provide any suitable on-the-job training
Typical causes of workplace injuries as a result of inadequate training can include:
- The improper use of ladders, scaffolding or other equipment used for working at height
- Back injuries caused by poor training in lifting procedures, or a lack of appropriate lifting equipment
- Electrical shocks as a result of using electrical equipment in an inappropriate manner
- Burns from handling hot substances or chemicals without the correct procedure being in place or followed
- Injuries resulting from improper use of machinery and/or tools
- Long-term medical conditions developing as a result of poor safety procedures, such as inadequate work breaks
Using risk assessment to understand the training needed
Do reduce the chances of inadequate training causing an accident in the workplace, employers have a duty to perform comprehensive risk assessments. Proper training cannot be provided without an understanding of the types of dangers facing employees. Once these are established, a quality training program can be rolled out.
When undertaking a risk assessment, employers should:
- identify the type of equipment and duties that may cause workplace hazards
- evaluate the hazards and the risk of harm to employees occurring
- set out a clear training strategy (as part of doing everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to mitigate the risk) which can be rolled out to all employees
- document the risk assessment
Different types of training
These days an employer has few excuses not to offer quality training to staff members as there are a variety of platforms through which training can be implemented. Innovations such as E-learning and webinars mean that quick training sessions can be rolled out in break times and after hours (with overtime payment of course) if time is precious on the factory floor.
Employers owe it to their staff to minimise the risk of injury caused by inadequate training in the workplace by implementing health and safety training in a way that is accessible and understandable to all employees .
What steps should you take following an accident at work?
1. Seek medical attention and advice
All employers must provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to enable first aid to be given to employees if they are injured or become ill at work. Visiting a hospital A&E department or your GP for medical attention and to record your injury and treatment is also very important from a legal perspective.
2. Record the accident at work
All employer are obliged to have an accident book (BI150) on work premises and any injury related to your job should be reported in this book. Accurate reporting of this accident can be used as evidence should any legal claim ensue.
3. Collect further evidence
Wherever possible, record the names of witnesses who saw or heard your accident happen. Taking photographs of the area or equipment that may have caused your accident can be important to help you process a claim.
4. Seek legal advice
If you believe that your work accident was the result of inadequate training or a lack of supervision/general safety information you could be entitled to claim financial compensation. This could be used to cover rehabilitation costs, medical bills, loss of income, psychological damage or mental distress.