All about heath and safety training

If risk assessments are the brain of health and safety, training is its heart. Training is the blood supply of a successful health and safety system. Appropriate training (see subsequent pages in this section for an explanation of the various types of training) is one of the most frequently used controls when writing a risk assessment.

It cannot be overstated how important training is but, unfortunately, this importance is often overlooked by employers.  This is sometimes due to concerns about cost, but training comes in many forms, many of them costing nothing.  The definition of training is “the organised procedure by which people learn knowledge and/or skill for a definite purpose” and it is true that sometimes, accredited (and therefore paid for) training is required, e.g. to acquire a licence or to have skills externally validated.  But training can also be passed on from a senior colleague to a new assistant, for example.

Health and safety training can be the responsibility of the HR department, but in organisations without in-house HR provision, it is the Competent Person who must make sure there is a full and appropriate H&S training schedule for every person.

It can be useful for the Competent Person to have a general training qualification, such as the City and Guilds “Delivering Training” course.  This will give the CP the ability to draw up and deliver in-house training and the Director/Business Owner confidence that such training is designed by a qualified person. This isn’t essential, but is highly recommended.


  • Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • The Health and Safety (Training for Employment) Regulations 1990

Health and Safety Myth

Train staff properly, and don't use health and safety as an excuse for poor service

A customer had his internet hub upgraded and BT sport installed in his home. The BT engineer refused to drill through the door frame due to health and safety reasons. The cabling was looped round the inside of the door, which meant the door could not be closed without severing the cable.

The HSE panel agreed wholeheartedly that the BT engineer is using health and safety as a convenient excuse for poor customer service. The company's code of practice actually recognises that some drilling may be required when installing cabling, but they were not prepared to do it in this case. Leaving trailing wires in a doorway is definitely more of a risk than drilling the door frame and installing properly – come on BT – own up to the real reason.