This article looks at the necessity of high quality health and safety training. This is designed to safeguard and protect your business. It also ensures that it complies with the law.
Why health & safety training?
The government’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) define the standards by which modern businesses must operate in a safe, healthy and business compliant manner that safeguards staff, customers and other stakeholders who engage with the business in various capacities.
This includes a number of measures for defining processes, setting business continuity strategies and documentation in place and ensuring that staff is trained adequately in good working practices that relate to the demands of their role. It involves health and safety courses and skills being regularly updated and refreshed to keep abreast of policy changes. Additionally, all business premises are required to regularly report and monitor the effectiveness of their health and safety business practices and report back, where required, to senior management.
Engaging an external contractor
A specialist health and safety consultancy is ideal for supporting businesses with their legal and business requirements in this area. Most business people don’t have time to keep up to date with the latest developments in the field and benefit from specialist advice and guidance from those who are skilled and experienced in the health and safety industry. Health and safety courses are often best delivered by an external accredited provider where there isn’t a sufficient internal resource to provide these courses. This engagement will satisfy the requirement for training staff in how to safely carry out their roles and protect other business stakeholders and the general public in the process. These courses should be accredited by organisations such as CIEH, Construction Skills, IOSH and NEBOSH, depending on the area and industry involved.
As well as training, businesses must carry out business continuity management and process management to ensure that their operations and systems are safe and robust. Specialist organisations and consultancies can help with management training to deliver this and support with the preparation and delivery of these systems and accompanying risk documentation. This will include support and training for the risk assessment process and hazards identification, mitigation and paperwork. The same external provider might also offer health and safety advice to the business client, including assessments, policy support, health checks and audits, retainer contracts and more.
To find the right external provider, look for signs of industry accreditation and recognition. As well as the qualifications listed above, accreditations and marques such as IIP and ISO are ideal, as is membership to a trade body of the Chamber of Commerce. Research into the company and seek out other customers to get their opinion. Look for testimonials and published statistics before engaging in a competitive tendering process with a few hot leads. Make sure this is done in an objective way and meet the person or people who would be managing your account to get a feeling of how they operate, what their skills base is and how well they understand and can learn about the requirements of your business. A good sense of working rapport will also be needed, as this consultancy will need to be able to work productively and openly with your business and sometimes feedback difficult and challenging messages to the senior leadership team where improvements are needed. If you require a package of support services, consider getting an annual retainer in place and negotiating on costs.
Mary Conner writes regularly on health and safety courses and legislation. She contributes to a range of business and trade websites and publications.
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