Workplace training mismanagement can have a disastrously high human cost, with employers also facing the financial fallout.
The Case Study
A waste management company (Rainbow Waste Management) recently had to pay out over £200,000 in fines and costs following the death of a 24-year old worker Ashley Morris in June 2013. The victim had been driving a Bobcat loader from outside the cab, and had reversed the vehicle with the bucket raised. The bucket dropped onto Mr. Morris, and he died from severe crush injuries to his head.
If you're a driver, you probably had many driving lessons, took a test, and now have a document to prove you can own and drive a car. In the workplace, there are many other activities, including operating complex machinery, which should be subject to a similar recorded process.
At the time of the inquest, the director of Rainbow Waste Management claimed that staff were fully trained on the company's health and safety procedures and that Mr. Morris had been put through a full training program on how to operate the Bobcat.
However, when it came to the court case, Rainbow was unable to demonstrate that thorough training had taken place. If training had been provided, the HSE evidence suggested it hadn’t been understood, as by watching CCTV they found over two hundred examples of unsafe working practices in the ten days leading to the accident.
Legal requirements for employers
It is a requirement of the UK Health and Safety at Work Act that employers should provide employees with “information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees.” The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations reminds employers that the training must be adequate, and should be repeated periodically as appropriate.
We come across employers who say their workforce have “trade skills”, meaning they learnt their trade as an apprentice many years ago, but have not had training specific to the equipment they work on now. Others rely on “common sense”, failing to realize that what is obvious to one person will not be obvious to another.
In court, Rainbow Waste Management claimed their training was sufficient, but they couldn’t prove it and the HSE position was that the training was not adequate for the tasks and environment involved.
Your training must therefore be targeted at risks highlighted in your risk assessments, and you must be able to demonstrate that you have delivered suitable training, that people have understood it, and that you have considered a suitable refresher period. Whether people attend a 15-minute stand-up “Toolbox” talk or a four-day classroom course, you need a way of checking understanding and recording attendance.
The role of software
The Training Management module in EcoOnline allows you to plan and schedule training and to upload certificates and test results. Its simple traffic light system provides you with an at-a-glance view of compliance, showing who is up-to-date with training – and who isn’t.
Our software can’t check the quality of your training, but you can upload course materials so that in the future you can see what content was delivered, to which people on which day. If your employees know how to manage the hazards they deal with, hopefully you’ll never need to prove how well you taught them.
To find out more information as to how EcoOnline can help you with your Training Management or streamline any of your organizations health and safety processes, Request A Demo Online from one of our super friendly product specialists.
If you're not ready for a demo, check out our Training Management Masterclass webinar video (as below) that covers how to track employee training, schedule and edit training courses and generate reports.