Every worker who joins a mobile services business should have a basic level of health and safety training.
This is typically delivered as part of the onboarding process, ensuring that all new starters understand the company’s health and safety policies.
But how much of this information will be retained after six months - or six years? And what happens if people change roles or safety plans are updated?
This is what makes safety training such a challenge.
It’s a spinning plates problem for managers who have to constantly monitor a workforce to ensure that a safety plan remains active.
But how often should training be delivered? Here’s a look at the issue:
What does the law say?
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision is required to ensure, ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’, the health and safety of workers.
On top of this, there’s the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) which identifies areas where training is particularly important. This includes refreshing knowledge that may have become ‘rusty’.
So while the legislation doesn’t specify how often training needs to be delivered, it does make it a legal duty to ensure that standards are maintained over time.
So how frequently do you need to deliver training?
This will depend on the specific requirements of your mobile workforce. How training is delivered and maintained, along with who’s responsible, should form a part of your safety plan.
You need to have a process which ensures that every mobile worker has the information and instruction that they need to comply with your health and safety policies.
It needs to guard against the constant danger of safety protocols slipping over time. You need to have a process that’s able to identify potential risk areas and to tackle them.
This requires a common-sense approach based on risks involved and the level of training required for each role and specific task. It can range from a simple on-the-job reminder to sending employees off for external courses.
Some areas of refresher training to explore include:
- Refresher training
- Changes to work processes
- Accidents or incidents
- Compliance monitoring
- Legislative changes
This is a scheduled plan to ensure that employees are constantly reminded of safety policies. This may be done across a team or for specific individuals who have particular safety responsibilities.
A record should always be kept of when each worker receives training. This can be used to schedule ‘refreshers’ after a set time. If anything should go wrong, it also provides evidence that workers have received the required training.
Changes to work processes
If any changes to working methods are introduced then it may require training to be updated to cover any new risks or updates to safety policy. This could be a new type of location that mobile workers are operating or updates to the protocol for a particular task.
As always, the test is whether workers have the knowledge and training they require to work safely and to comply with your health and safety plan. If anything changes, this should be reviewed.
Accidents or incidents
The worst possible way to identify training needs is when something goes wrong. But whenever accidents or incidents do happen, you need to look at possible ways they could have been avoided.
This will often involve amending safety plans which will require additional safety training and instruction. A log of any incidents, along with any steps taken to minimise the risks should be kept.
It’s important to find effective ways to monitor safety compliance. The switch to digital workforce management systems provides much more effective ways for this to be achieved.
A system such as MyMobileWorkers allows safety policy reminders and protocols to be integrated into each task with real-time notifications. It also allows each job to be given a safety rating by a manager or administrator.
If safety documentation is incomplete or a protocol is not properly followed, this can be reflected in the rating. It allows managers to identify areas of concern across a workforce and to guard against the dangers of complacency.
Along with internal operational changes, training also needs to stay in step with any updates to external health and safety regulations. These need to be passed on to workers before the legislation changes.
Managers need to make sure that safety plans are regularly reviewed to prepare for any regulatory changes with training plans and resources scheduled to ensure compliance.