Returning to work can be a stressful time for both managers and employees. Organisations have to reorganise their workplaces and work processes to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Then, employers need to find solutions for how to effectively implement and monitor these new control measures, which are not easy tasks for any organisation in any industry.

However, while your organisation might have tackled all of the requirements to keep people safe and healthy, your efforts will only go so far without getting your staff to commit to these new safety measures.

So how can you create a culture that will engage employees and get their buy-in to this new ‘normal’?

While there are many challenges ahead, we’ve compiled some tips for what type of control measures you might need to implement and how you can get employees on board so that everyone’s health, safety and welfare is protected as people return to work.

Risk assessment and control measures


The first step in taking care of employee health, safety and wellbeing is carrying out a risk assessment. This will help you:

  • Examine the workplace and work activities that might cause transmission of the virus
  • Identify who might be harmed, such as people with underlying health conditions
  • Assess the level of risk
  • Determine what control measures need to be implemented to mitigate those risks

Control measures might include:

  • Creating a response plan in case an employee develops symptoms or suspects they might have Covid-19 while at work
  • Changing the workplace layout to allow for social distancing according to government guidelines, for example, workstations, canteens, meeting rooms, walkways
  • Staggering employee start times and lunch schedules or creating a rota to reduce the number of people in the workplace at once
  • Reducing the number of shared spaces and equipment, for example, instating a take away only canteen
  • Implementing regular and effective cleaning and disinfecting routines by staff and cleaning personnel
  • Providing more handwashing facilities and materials so people can frequently and properly wash their hands, and provide hand sanitisers where handwashing facilities are not available
  • Encouraging employees to maintain good personal hygiene and implementing good cleaning practices through regular reminders and sign postage
  • Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) if it is considered appropriate for the present risks and conditions

What is most appropriate for your workplace will depend on many factors, such as the industry you work in, how many people are returning to work, and the nature of each person’s job.

Involve your employees

While it is critical to assess the risks and put controls in place to protect everyone’s health and safety, it won’t be successful without employees doing their part. For example, you could have made handwashing facilities, hand sanitisers and cleaning supplies readily available throughout the workplace, but if no one uses them, these measures become redundant.

One of the best ways to create engagement and get your employees to commit to health and safety changes is to get them involved. Ask them to help you identify the hazards and assess the risks. It can be as easy as talking and listening to your staff about what they think should be implemented to help them work safely. Another more streamlined process would be to do this through a people risk assessment software.

You can enrol all of your staff on the risk assessment helping you to easily identify, assess and manage most if not all of the risks in the workplace. Getting your staff involved in this process not only protects them, but it can also create a culture of trust and partnership between employers and employees. It can also reassure staff that you and the organisation view their health and safety as a priority.

Transparency is another important element in gaining commitment. Share your findings of the risk assessment with your entire workforce so they understand:

  • That you are complying with the government’s guidance to manage the risk of transmission of Covid-19
  • You are doing everything possible to keep them safe and healthy at work
  • What they are required to do to comply with the risk assessment and any new procedures in place

Communicate regularly about work processes and changes

Regular communication about workplace changes is another key component of engagement and compliance. Update employees on all new processes and procedures and send out communications regarding any process changes. For example, keep them informed about:

  • When they should arrive at work, take breaks and leave work
  • How often they should wash their hands, use hand sanitiser or clean their workstations
  • What to do if they develop symptoms of Covid-19 while at work

Sending out communications doesn’t have to be a burden – software can help automate communications and track acceptance for compliance. Online training is another great way to get your organisation’s messages across to your entire organisation in a fast, concise way. An authoring tool can make it simple to customise training and communication to ensure it is relevant and specific to your organisation’s procedures for returning to work.

Providing feedback

Just like in the risk assessment process, encourage employees to continuously look for hazards and areas of improvement to help keep everyone safe. Check with them to see how things are going and that you value their feedback.

If things are working well, communication shouldn’t stop there. If people are complying with the control measures in place and are taking responsibility for the health and safety of everyone in the workplace, take time to communicate that to your staff. Recognise and praise their effort and commitment towards preventing the spread of Covid-19 and keeping a safe and healthy work environment. Appreciating their commitment can go a long way during these challenging times.

Recognise different needs and take care of everyone’s wellbeing

Every employee has different circumstances that could create vulnerabilities or challenges when returning to work. For example, workers might:

  • Have underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable
  • Need to take care of family or have personal matters that need tending to while they are working
  • Be stressed, nervous or anxious about the risks involved in returning to work
  • Have difficulties adapting to a new workspace or work schedule
  • Feel lonely or isolated

If not cared for properly, these circumstances can lead to more issues, such as increased stress, depression and lower productivity.

Talk to your employees about how the pandemic has affected them personally and professionally. Can you work together to come up with some solutions to help manage those issues? For example, if an employee has child care needs, can their schedule be adapted to help meet their needs? If an employee has an underlying health condition that makes them more vulnerable, can additional measures be implemented, or can they switch to a similar role that would allow them to work safely? What about employees that feel more stressed or anxious about returning to work?

Think about what you can do to help ease their concerns, for example:

  • Have conversations with them about specific concerns
  • Listen to their concerns and reassure them about the measures in place to protect them
  • If they don’t want to speak with a manager, encourage them to talk with a trusted colleague, friend, family member or a medical health professional
  • Provide resources to help them take care of their mental health


Gaining employee commitment during these challenging times can be as simple as keeping open lines of communication and encouraging staff to get involved. Praise and recognise staff for their efforts, and take the time to understand and accommodate personal needs. Employees who are involved and feel appreciated and valued are much more likely to get on board with changes in the workplace and, ultimately, feel happier in their role.

The process of returning to work will have many challenges ahead, but by each person doing their part, we can all create and maintain safe and healthy workplaces for everyone returning to work.

Having employees work from home has always posed challenges to an organisation’s compliance. Now that homeworking is increasingly common and entrenched in the economy, these challenges are more widespread. And homeworking does not mean any lessening of an employer’s compliance responsibilities.

For example, the HSE explicitly states that ‘As an employer, you have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers’. This is also true for employer responsibilities relating to data protection and mental wellbeing.

Homeworking challenges

Many of the homeworking compliance challenges stem from employers having less direct oversight over aspects of the workplace setup. In their workplace, the organisation has control over things like the setup of desks, safety equipment, and information technology and communication (ITC) equipment. This allows organisations to control display screen equipment (DSE) risks by, for example, supplying and setting up ergonomic desks, chairs, accessories and managing temperature. Having control over physical ITC, eg routers and firewalls, allows organisations to mitigate some data protection and cybersecurity risks.

The workplace also brings employees together, facilitating teamwork, collaboration and social interaction – all of which has a positive effect on employee wellbeing and creativity.

It is possible to place the compliance risks homeworking introduces into three categories: display screen equipment (DSE), data protection and cybersecurity, and employee wellbeing.

Display screen equipment (DSE)

Homeworking environments should meet all the same DSE standards as an organisation’s workplace, and they must meet fire safety standards too. However, your employees will have varied home and living circumstances. They will have different sized homes, live with different people (eg family or housemates), and have different equipment needs.

Data protection and cybersecurity

Many homeworking employees will share their network with their family or housemates, which increases the risk of an accidental data breach. Homeworking can also strain the ability of your organisation to react to and remedy a data breach. Many of your employees might be using insecure routers or will be using their routers with only basic security features enabled, leaving them vulnerable to hacking attempts.

Employee wellbeing

Some homeworkers might spend their entire working day alone. Perhaps they live alone, or their family leaves for their work or schooling. This might lead to homeworkers feeling isolated and lonely. Alternatively, with the workplace always nearby, homeworkers might work longer hours, which can lead to employee stress and burnout.

Ensuring compliance with your homeworkers

In the rest of this article, we will discuss what your organisation should do to ensure compliance while facilitating homeworking for employees. We will focus on general principles that apply to nearly all organisations. However, you need to consider if your organisation has any industry or product-specific requirements. For example, your IT team might have to investigate access and file control mechanisms for homeworkers.

Risk assessments, training and policies are the foundations of a compliance strategy, and they are implemented widely. Organisations sometimes go through the motions of risk assessments by relying on their knowledge and experience of the workplace and do not engage their employees. Many organisations rely on in-person training and demonstrations or they use elearning courses that are not maintained, are poorly researched and that are not engaging or not relevant. Some organisations distribute policies but would struggle to show that employees have read or understood them.

Risk assessments

With homeworking environments, the employee must have an active role in the risk assessment process. As the employer does not control the environment, it is not feasible for them to:

  • Rely on an individual manager’s judgement alone
  • Apply assessments designed for the workplace to the home environment
  • Implement solutions based on past experience of the workplace

The homeworker is best placed to assess the homeworking space they can provide. They will be able to indicate what type of equipment they need, the potential data protection threats and how homeworking is affecting their wellbeing.

Just like in an office, situations change and develop over time. The HSE say that DSE risk assessments should be repeated when ‘a new workstation is set up; a new user starts work; a change is made to an existing workstation or the way it’s used, users complain of pain or discomfort’. The same applies to homeworkers. Homeworkers might also need to consult with their IT team about any changes to the home network, eg a new router or change of internet provider.

A risk assessment solution should be flexible and have the ability to be deployed quickly. Ideally, the employee should be able to find and submit a risk assessment whenever a change of circumstance arises.


Data protection and cybersecurity compliance require training and refresher training. Cybercriminals are quick to adapt to what they see as new opportunities. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, cybercriminals quickly pivoted to incorporating the fear and uncertainty the pandemic generated into their phishing emails. Some of these emails were successful. The majority, if not all, could have been avoided by applying cybersecurity best practices; eg checking the email’s sender and not downloading attachments from unknown senders. Recurring and automated phishing or cybersecurity training helps keep employees aware and vigilant of the threats and tactics posed by cybercriminals.

Moving from an office to homeworking is a key time to refresh employees on their responsibilities under data protection legislation. All GDPR-related regulations are still in place and indeed, require extra care by the employee. It is important that homeworkers are not under any illusions that their compliance responsibilities diminish because they are not in the workplace. An easy to distribute and comprehensive e-learning course can help re-emphasise how crucial data protection is.

Further, training is one way an organisation can help the wellbeing of homeworking employees. It is an appropriate way to inform employees of mental wellbeing strategies such as stress management, mindfulness, resilience, good nutrition and physical activity. Homeworkers can incorporate what they learned in training to their working day and life. Training on these subjects can also encourage dialogue in the organisation, which will foster a supportive and healthy dynamic.

While there is a definite place for off-the-shelf training solutions, a little bit of customisation can go a long way. Every organisation does something a little different, eg different software packages. Being able to rapidly edit training solutions to include information specific to your organisation and its policies, procedures, and tools will make the training relevant and interesting.

The training and compliance needs of organisations are constantly changing, and because of this, automating the enrolment and re-enrolment of training can be a powerful tool. Health and safety, compliance or learning and development teams benefit greatly. Automated enrolments allow them to focus on more complex tasks while minimising human error and time spent on these repetitive administrative tasks.


Policies are critical. They define the standards of behaviour and levels of professionalism you require from employees. Good policies that are understood and implemented can create a culture of compliance. Your organisation probably has many of the relevant policies, eg data protection, cybersecurity, work-related stress. However, many organisations bundle policies into a physical employee information booklet that they give to employees when they join – never to be looked at again. Other organisations rely on emailing policies to employees, which makes proving acceptance and understanding very challenging.

The ever-changing business, regulatory and societal situation we live in requires solutions that allow policies to be created, updated and distributed quickly and that keeps reliable records of employee engagement. For example, organisations that switched to homeworking due to Covid-19 would have had to update cybersecurity or work-related stress policies rapidly. Many had to create a homeworking policy from scratch. Once the policies were finalised they needed the employees to get them, read, and sign them promptly.

It is also useful to go beyond a passive ‘tick to agree’ approach to policies. For this, testing can be valuable. Testing employees on the contents of the policy is a great way to ensure a high level of understanding, and this will help employees apply compliance best practices naturally.

Final thoughts

Risk assessments, training, and policies can all work in sync. Risk assessments can help your organisation respond to the peculiarities of each homeworker’s situation. The results of risk assessments can also help define training needs and inform policy responses. For example, a risk assessment might show that homeworkers have additional wellbeing needs, for which training might be one part of a solution.

Good training that engages employees and provides up-to-date and well-researched information can bring policies to life. A policy might demand that an employee uses strong passwords. Training teaches them why this is important, then how to create secure passwords, thus making the behaviour natural to the employee.

If you need to ramp up your compliance efforts, EssentialSkillz has a service for you. We provide off-the-shelf elearning courses on DSE, homeworking, data protection, cybersecurity, stress management, mindfulness, resilience, nutrition, physical activity and more. We have off-the-shelf employee-led risk assessments for DSE, lone-working and homeworking. Further, our courses and risk assessments are easily tailored to suit your organisation’s specific needs. You can use our powerful Compliance Platform to distribute the courses and assessments, or we can integrate with your current systems.

Our Compliance Platform provides a policy distribution and reporting tool that allows:

  • Rapid policy distribution
  • Employees to declare they have read the policy
  • Secure recording of the employee’s agreement with the policy


Construction director jailed after employee killed by excavator

The director of a Glasgow based construction company has been jailed after an employee was crushed to death by an excavator that he was operating.

The director was using the excavator to lower cement and blocks into the hole at an excavation site where three of his employees were working. As the cement was being poured into the site, the director instructed his employee to remove the remaining mortar with a shovel.

During the task the employee became trapped by the excavator bucket and pinned against the wall of the hole, causing fatal injuries to his chest and abdomen.

An investigation by the HSE found that the director failed to undertake a risk assessment to ensure the safety of his employees and that he operated the excavator without any sufficient training or certification.

The director of the construction company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7(a) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974, and was given a 10-month custodial sentence.

Concluding the case, HSE inspector Helen Diamond said: ‘Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working’.

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Council and bus company fined after passenger killed by grab lorry

A passenger was struck and killed by a construction vehicle at a bus station in St Albans.

Although the station was in the process of being demolished and reconstructed, buses continued to operate from designated transit points.

The victim was hit by a grab lorry after she exited a bus and walked across a pedestrian crossing. The vehicle was in the process of delivering sand to one of the construction sites when it failed to stop.

An investigation by the HSE found that the visibility of the crossing was obstructed by buses that had been allowed parked on double yellow lines. The investigation concluded that the council and the bus station operator failed to manage and assess safety procedures for pedestrian and vehicle interaction within the bus station.

The council pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work Act, was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay additional costs of £16,803.

The bus company pleaded not guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work Act. The company was found guilty and fined £350,000 with additional costs to be determined by the court.

At the conclusion of the case, lead HSE inspector Emma Page said: ‘Hazards associated with vehicles and pedestrians in the same location, particularly the case in a facility such as a bus station in the centre of a busy town, are well known and easily controlled using reasonably practicable precautions’.

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Steel company fined after two engineers died in an explosion

A Cardiff based manufacturer has been fined after an investigation by the HSE found them culpable for the death of two electrical engineers and the serious injury of another in an on-site explosion.

Both engineers were working to drain lubrication oil from an accumulator’s vessel in the sites basement level. A flammable atmosphere began to develop during the operation which remained undetected by the workers. An electrical heater within the vessel caused the atmosphere to ignite, triggering a significant explosion.

The investigation, carried out by the HSE, found that the manufacturing company failed to carry out a risk assessment. The task had been left to the employees, who did not understand or we’re unaware of the risks involved with draining the accumulator.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company were fined £1.8m and ordered to pay additional costs of £145,772.

Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Lee Schilling said: ‘This incident, which had devastating consequences for all of those involved, was entirely preventable. The company failed to assess the risks of the maintenance work and identify suitable control measures to prevent an explosion’.

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Engineering company fined after worker fatally injured

An engineering company has been fined for breaching health and safety regulations after a 62-year old worker was struck and killed at the companies East Kilbride workshop.

The employee in question was in the process of helping a colleague move piping from one part of the yard to another. The colleague used a side loader to lift the pipes which caused them to roll off the machinery and injure the worker’s leg. The loader also hit a wooden bearer which also struck the worker, causing fatal head injuries.

An investigation by the HSE found that method of moving the pipes was not safe as there was no way of securing the pipe to the side loader.

The engineering company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They received a fine of £60,000.

At the conclusion of the case lead HSE inspector Martin McMahon said: ‘This tragic incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.’

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Tree service company fined after worker suffers finger amputation

A tree surgeon was grievously injured while splitting logs at a tree services company in Lapford, Devon. The 33-year old tree surgeon was placing and removing logs from a log splitting machine when his hand became stuck in the machinery. Once his hand had been freed from the machine the worker realised that his index finger and the tip of his middle finger had been severed.

An investigation by the HSE found that the unguarded splitting machine presented a risk to the workers and the presence of an additional worker loading the logs increased the likelihood of an injury.

The tree service company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were handed a £3100 fine and ordered to pay additional costs of £6,019.

In summing up the case HSE inspector Paul Mannell said: ‘This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures for machinery guarding and safe working practices. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.’

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Manufacturing company fined after worker’s leg crushed

A packaging manufacturing company employee received life-changing injuries after his leg became trapped between an automated transfer car and a conveyor at the companies Hartlepool site.

An investigation by the HSE found that the company failed to assess the risks involved with the transfer cars when the site was originally purchased and had subsequently failed to conduct a safety audit on the machinery in the 9 years since. Although an audit had been conducted a month prior to the incident, no action had been taken to remediate the issues found.

The packaging manufacturing company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £60,000 and were ordered to pay additional costs of £1,513.

Commenting on the case, Lead HSE Inspector Jonathan Wills stated: ‘A worker was left with serious life-changing injuries because of this incident. Injuries which could have very easily been avoided had the recommendations made in the assessment been acted upon’.

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EssentialSkillz, a leading developer in the field of compliance-focused training and LMS solutions today announced that it received a 57 Net Promoter Score (NPS) in its recent client satisfaction survey. 

The NPS is a highly regarded metric that provides an indication of overall customer experience and loyalty. It is calculated by asking customers if they would recommend a company’s products or services to a friend or colleague.

This standardised measure allows businesses to measure their customer service performance and compare themselves to other enterprises across their industry or sector. A score of 50+ is considered ‘Excellent’ while a score of 70+ is ‘World-Class’. 

EssentialSkillz also received a positive response to two additional questions included in the survey. When asked to rate their overall experience and the support they had received, customers returned a score of 8.6 and 9.1 respectively.   

EssentialSkillz CEO Julian Roberts welcomed the result, stating: ‘The fast-paced age we live in can make it difficult to find fair and balanced reviews of any product, so recommendations from sources who have actually tried and tested our solutions are important now more than ever.’ 

‘We’re absolutely thrilled with the responses we’ve had, and these results give us confidence that we’re providing a great service to our customers.’

About EssentialSkillz
EssentialSkillz is an award-winning global provider of effective eLearning solutions for organisations in both the public and private sectors. Recognised as a market leader in learning solutions, EssentialSkillz products include a comprehensive eLearning Library of 50+ Health & Safety, Business Protection and Wellbeing courses, WorkWize Learning Management System and WorkWize Author. For more information visit

Events company fined £161k after worker injured by a forklift

An events company that also manufactures event materials such as exhibition stands and installations has been fined £161k after an employee was seriously injured during an on-site operation at Woodcorner Farm, Coventry.

A work crew from the company had sought to move a 4.2m wide park home chassis through a 3.9m door opening with the aid of two forklifts. When the attempt failed, workers began to push down on one side to angle it through the entryway. The chassis slipped off the fork of the truck and struck one of the employees on the shoulder.

The employee was thrown back by the impact and hit a wall 2m away. The force was so great he was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken collarbone.

An investigation carried out by the HSE found that managers had failed to adequately plan the operation and conduct a risk assessment of the dangers.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were ordered to pay a £161,000 fine and £1,345 in additional costs.

HSE inspector Christopher Maher, who oversaw the case said: ‘Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working’.

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Construction company fined £1m and employee sentenced for 6 months

A construction company and one of its employees have been sentenced after another worker was fatally injured during an operation at a construction site in Stratford.

An excavator, operated by the on-site supervisor, struck the worker as he disconnected lifting accessories from a metal pile and pushed him against a concrete wall, where he suffered from fatal crushing injuries. Another worker standing nearby was able to escape.

An investigation by the HSE found that the construction company failed to assess risks and failed to take the safety of its employees into account.

Both the construction company and the site supervisor pleaded not guilty to breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. The construction company was fined £1,000,000 and ordered to pay costs of £108,502. The employee received a 6-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £15,000.

Lead HSE inspector Darren Alldis said: ‘This death was wholly preventable and serves as a reminder as to why it is so important for companies and individuals to take their responsibilities to protect others seriously and to take the simple actions necessary to eliminate and minimise risks’.

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Manufacturing company sentenced after worker injured by machinery

A manufacturing company based in Oldham has received a sentence after a 34-year-old agency worker suffered severe injuries to her hand.

The staff member was only on her second shift with the company when she attempted to remove a blockage from a filling machine. Her hand came in to contact with an open rotating fan, causing her to lose sections of her fingers on her right hand.

Skin grafts taken to repair some of the damage proved unsuccessful, leaving the victim with additional scarring on her stomach. A subsequent health report confirmed that the worker suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident and has been unable to return to work.

An investigation by the HSE found a number of major failures in the companies operations and procedures. They found that appropriate risk assessments and equipment checks were not carried out and that the fan lacked any proper guarding.
They concluded that the company had also failed to provide first aid training to its workers or have first aid provision immediately available.

The manufacturing company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 3(2) of the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. The company was fined £28,000 and were ordered to pay additional costs of £7,771.

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Restaurant owner fined after workers exposed to asbestos fibres

An Essex based restaurant was converting the rooms above the restaurant into flats. During the conversion process, an asbestos insulation board was removed and broken up by the workers – exposing them to asbestos fibres. An asbestos survey was only carried out after the disturbance.

An investigation by the HSE found that the work was not undertaken by a licensed asbestos contractor. Also, asbestos management, refurbishment and demolition surveys were not carried out prior to the conversion.

The owner of the restaurant pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £6,293.

HSE inspector David King said: ‘Those in control of works have a responsibility to manage the risks from asbestos in non-domestic premises. To achieve this the duty holder must ensure that a suitable and sufficient assessment is carried out as to whether asbestos is or is liable to be present in the premises.’

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Car manufacturer fined £1 million after two employees suffer chemical burns

Two workers of a car and commercial vehicle component manufacturer were cleaning a distillation tank with a highly flammable chemical. During this process, the chemical ignited and exploded, resulting in both workers suffering severe burn injuries. One of the workers’ injuries were severe enough that he had to stay off work for over 2 months.

An investigation by the HSE found that no risk assessment had been carried out for the process of cleaning the tank with flammable chemicals. There was also no safe system of work in place.

The car component manufacturer pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £1,000,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,374.

HSE principal inspector Paul Thompson said: ‘Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe systems of work, and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in those systems, as well as the substances they use’.

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Building contractor fined after wall collapses onto homeowner

A group of boys were playing on the gate of an underground car park in Leeds. One of the boys was opening and closing the gate by pushing it – the gate was pushed beyond the stopping point. As the gate did not have an end-stop, it came off the track and fell over onto the boy. This resulted in the gate trapping and fatally crushing the boy.

An investigation by the HSE found that the electric gate company failed to install an end-stop and that nobody involved in the maintenance and commissioning of the gate ever noticed the defect of the gate.

The electric gate company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £12,411.46.

HSE inspector Julian Franklin commented: ‘This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, which could have been prevented by a thorough commissioning check before handing the gate over to the building occupier’.

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Work at home initiatives are on the rise, but the positive benefits they can offer employees and employers can often be offset by health and safety issues. We dive into 5 key questions that employers should consider to help reduce the risks involved in working from home.

The modern workplace is quite different to what it used to be – even 5 years ago. Rapid technological leaps and evolving attitudes regarding workplace structure and wellbeing have revolutionised not only how we work, but where.

Recent studies [1] suggest that as much as 50% of the UK workforce could be working remotely by 2020, and current trends predict that the figure is only going to increase in the coming years.

If managed correctly, there are many benefits to homeworking for both employers and their employees. These include reduced travel time and cost for the employee, along with a reduction inexpensive office space and better staff retention for the employer. Working from home could also offer opportunities for employees with mobility issues, or for expectant mothers who wish to continue working further into their pregnancy.

While homeworking covers jobs as diverse as food preparation, construction and accommodation provision, much of the growth has come from people using computers for significant periods. With improved connectivity, more people can access work networks from home as efficiently as they can in the office.

Research [2] has shown that prolonged use of computers leads to musculoskeletal symptoms including back, neck and shoulder pain. 

However, the impact doesn’t stop there. A UK Government review of the evidence on the impacts of sedentary behaviour [3] identified increased use of computers for work as one reason why people spend more time sitting. The review found links between increased sitting and obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and even some cancers.

Getting to work for most people involves some level of physical activity, such as walking to the station or from the bus-stop. Even those who drive for work might walk from the carpark, up the stairs for a meeting, and to the canteen or café for lunch. For homeworkers, the risk of sitting at a desk – or slouching on a sofa – all day is higher, risks which are exacerbated by poor posture.

Employers’ responsibilities to provide a safe place of work do not stop when someone is working from home. As with any other work process, homeworking should be risk assessed and managed. This means more than giving an employee a nice bag for their laptop and checking their internet connection.

Here then, are 5 simple questions that employers should ask about their homeworking arrangements:

1. What furniture will the employee be using while working at home?

Slouching on the sofa might seem like a treat, but the natural curves of the spine are not supported and the neck is strained. Working like this for long periods could lead to back, neck and shoulder problems. A table is better, but is it the right height, and is there a suitable chair? Some organisations have the resources to send an assessor to an employee’s home to check furniture, but if you don’t, the alternative is to train the employee to do their own assessment. This must be backed up by the resources to provide additional furniture needed.

2. What equipment is the employee going to use? 

While great for portability, you can’t achieve a good posture with a laptop or a tablet on their own. Either the screen will be too low, which can cause significant neck problems, or the keyboard will be too high, causing wrist and shoulder issues. A desktop PC, or the use of separate peripherals such as a keyboard, a large scale display, and a mouse will enable a more comfortable working position. Additionally, make sure homeworkers have the right software for the job and know how to use it.

3. Where will the employee be working?

Studies have shown that some people are more productive when surrounded by noise, so they might choose to work in a busy café, fuelled by good coffee and toasted sandwiches. However, it is much more difficult to get a good set-up away from a fixed environment. If a worker is mostly mobile they will need lightweight equipment, including peripherals such as a keyboard and a mouse.

4. Is the employee taking active breaks when they’re working from home?

Without meetings to attend or colleagues to eat lunch with, it’s too easy for a homeworker to spend all day indoors. How do you encourage a worker to be active remotely?  Here’s one idea: if you have a weekly catch-up on the phone, suggest that employees don a hands-free headset so they can walk and talk at the same time (taking extra care if crossing a road). Some organisations encourage activity with competitions, where remote and office-based workers log their exercise on an app and compare achievements.

5. How are we going to train and support the employee?

If you have home-workers, have you thought how you will manage training, risk assessments and follow-up? It’s important to remember that, while they may not be working within in the office,    homeworkers are entitled to the same protection as workers who are. While it’s true that a centralised office can allow employers to check up on an employees set-up and wellbeing, assessing the health and safety of staff working from home can still be achieved through online training.

Online DSE training and/or a specific working at home course can help users to understand health concerns that relate to the way they work, and offer advice that can help them avoid injury and poor health. Risk assessments can also allow both employers and employees to engage with each other to resolve equipment issues or find a more effective set-up that benefits the user.

But don’t forget other hazards associated with home working – electrical equipment must be managed, regularly tested and inspected;  working hours need to be regulated and accidents need to be reported. As a result, homeworkers should know where to go to receive support, and employers should have a system in place to provide that support.


While an employer can’t control all aspect of an employees homeworking set-up, they have obligations in relation to the hazards of equipment that a worker needs to use, and the tasks they are expected to carry out. Always consider if you have appropriate processes in place, and how they can be improved. 







Looking for in-depth and engaging health and safety training? Explore our comprehensive eLearning library and try any of our courses for free. 

Disclaimer: This article is purely for informational purposes. For more information on workplace health and safety in the UK, visit the Health and Safety Executive.

Whether we realise it or not, health and safety plays an important role in every aspect of our day to day lives. From everyday household items to our daily commute and the places we visit, health and safety guidelines are often put in place to protect millions of people from harm.

However, one of the most impactful ways that health and safety affects us is in the workplace. It doesn’t matter what industry or sector you find yourself in – from office spaces to construction sites, every single workspace comes with its own risks and hazards.

Today, millions of workers across the UK encounter threats to their wellbeing as part of their work duties every day. As a result, health and safety training forms an important part of compliance culture.

What is health and safety?

Before we dive into the ins and outs of health and safety training, it’s good to take a brief look at what workplace health and safety is in more detail.

In general, health and safety is about preventing people getting harmed as they go about their day to day lives. The primary goal of health and safety laws, regulations and policies is to create a safe and secure working environment, and to reduce the risk of accidents, injuries and fatalities.

Workplace health and safety refers specifically to key measures that are put in place to ensure that a workspace is a safe and secure environment. While this may sound simple in principle, putting it into practice is a task that requires a great deal of planning and assessment to put in to practice. To cultivate a safe workplace, employers must take into consideration a wide variety of factors, possible actions and potential situations. For employees, this can include their work duties, the equipment they use, the things they come into contact with, the suitability of their workspace and the amenities they have access to.

Since the onset of the industrial revolution, health and safety regulations have formed a vital foundation in UK law that all industries and sectors are beholden to. This ensures that all individuals, no matter what their job may be, have the right to work in an environment that is safe and protects them from harm.

It’s also important to remember that workplace health safety isn’t just confined to the rights and needs of employees – it affects anyone who may come into close contact with or has access to areas where work is conducted. This can include stakeholders, visitors or even the general public, if work is undertaken in public spaces.

As an employer, or a self-employed individual, you are responsible for health and safety in your business. You must take the right precautions to control the risks of workplace dangers that can affect yourself, your employees and anyone else who could be affected. And you must do this while complying with health and safety legislation.

What should health and safety training cover?

At its most basic level, health and safety training should provide employees with relevant, comprehensive information that reflects the risks that exist within the workplace.

Training should cover:

  • Key safety and health policies, procedures and guidelines
  • How to identify and manage risk in the workplace
  • Measures to be taken in an emergency
  • The effects of specific hazards that employees may encounter as part of their work duties
  • Safe procedures for the use of relevant machinery and equipment relevant to the employee’s role
  • How to report hazards, concerns, incidents and injuries
  • How to have input in safe work practices and procedures

Employers should conduct a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) to identify gaps in employee training and related training needs.

  • Is the correct level of training being delivered to the right employees?
  • Do your employees understand what is required of them?
  • Does the training provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to work safely and without risk?
  • Are they able to work as they have been trained to?
  • Is the most suitable training method being used?

Assessing the effectiveness of a training program should always be an ongoing process. Training should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it complies with current legislation, industry best practice and risks that can evolve within the workplace.

  • What kind of feedback are you getting from line managers and users about the training?
  • Is any further information and/or training needed to strengthen the compliance process?
  • Has there been any improvement in your organisation’s health and safety performance?
  • What improvements can be made?
  • Is there a positive return on investment (ROI)?

The best way to be sure that you are managing risks effectively, and meet the requirements of relevant legislation is to create a robust health and safety programme, which covers all the stages of policy, planning, operations, monitoring, review and audit that is necessary. This system has to be brought alive through engagement with the workforce – through training, information, instruction and supervision to ensure it is held and followed to a high standard. These actions broadly fall into 2 categories:

Proactive Activities

Proactive activities (often called leading indicators) are activities that organisations can put in place to identify, eliminate or minimise risks before they can escalate and cause harm. Proactive safety measures can include:

  • Training
  • Audits
  • Inspections
  • Interviews
  • Monitoring workplace performance
  • Monitoring workplace behaviour

There are many benefits to incorporating proactive activities into a health and safety programme. They can prevent workplace illness, accidents and injuries from developing in both the long and short term, and help organisations to establish a positive safety culture across the workforce. Embedding an appreciation for safety and ensuring an on-going commitment can help organisations keep employees and stakeholders safe, and can even have additional benefits, such as significantly increase productivity, efficiency and workplace morale.

Taking a proactive approach to health and safety requires a great deal of investment of finances and human resources. While measures such as training and regular auditing might seem expensive in the short term, the upfront costs pale in comparison to the fines, surcharges and compensation that can be incurred as a result of failures in health and safety.

Reactive activities

Reactive activities (also called lagging indicators) refer to actions taken to deal with accidents and incidents after they occur. Reactive safety measures can include:

  • Accident reporting
  • Accident investigation
  • Incident investigation
  • Regular ill-health and sickness reviews
  • Identifying common trends

While proactive health and safety management aims to prevent accidents and incidents, reactive measures need to be in place in case the preventative measures fail. Employees need to be trained so they know how to respond to accidents and incidents, and how to capture information to improve health and safety practices in the future.

What is health and safety training?

Health and safety training should provide people with the information they need to identify and eliminate or manage risk in the workplace. It is a legal responsibility of employers to provide appropriate training, and good training demonstrates a commitment to health and safety.

Some training topics are common across all workplaces – for example, everyone needs to know what to do in case a fire breaks out. Other topics are workplace-specific, for example working at height, noise or legionella.

What are the key laws and regulations that impact health and safety training?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (alternately referred to as the HSWA, HASAWA or HSW Act) outlines the general responsibilities that employers and employees have to ensure health and safety in the workplace.

The introduction of the HSWA led to the founding of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a non-departmental public body that has the authority to investigate, assess and prosecute health and safety violations. It also conducts research and advises industries on health and safety concerns.

The Act also outlines the investigative powers that inspectors possess, and prosecution guidelines and procedures for offences.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Introduced to reinforce the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, the MHSWR regulations instil a general duty for employers to carry out risk assessments, as well as provide adequate information, instruction, supervision and training for all employees.

Employees also have further duties under MHSWR. Workers have a responsibility to report any shortcomings in health & safety arrangements and report dangerous situations immediately. They are charged to use equipment in accordance with any training and instruction they receive, and must take reasonable care of their own health & safety and those of others who may be affected by their actions.

The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations 1992

The PPE Regulations place a duty on employers to ensure that suitable PPE is provided where there is significant risk to the health and safety of the individual undertaking work that cannot be eliminated or sufficiently reduced in any other way. PPE includes respiratory protective equipment (RPE),
protective face masks, eye protection, safety footwear, helmets and ear defenders.

In every instance where PPE is required, employers must provide information and training to employees that use them. They must also undertake regular inspections to ensure that equipment is safe for use.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992

The Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations apply to employees who regularly use text-based or graphical display screens such as laptops, tablet devices and desktop PCs as part of their job. Employers are required to conduct workstation risk assessments, ensure that users take appropriate rest breaks and also offer regular free eye tests to relevant employees.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

Manual handling means the transporting or supporting of any load, which can be inanimate (like a box) or animate (like a patient or an animal. It includes lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving with hands or using bodily force.

Employers must take steps to ensure that employees avoid (so far as is reasonably practicable) harm or injury, including carrying out and reviewing risk assessments, providing employees with handling training and reviewing incidents relating to manual handling tasks.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995

A key provision of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) is that employers have a duty to report a wide range of work-related incidents, injuries and diseases to either the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), or to the appropriate governing authority within their industry. The regulations also require employers to maintain an accident book to record the date and time of the incident, details of any ill health or injury, the nature of their illness or injury, their occupation, the place where the event occurred and a brief account of the events leading up to the incident.

Why is health and safety training important?

No matter what size your organisation is, health and safety training should be at the top of your priority list, and there are quite a few reasons why:

It’s the law. Arguably one of the most compelling reasons why organisations should prioritise training is because it’s not optional. Employers are required to implement a health and safety training program to comply with government laws and regulations.

No workplace is 100% safe. This might sound ominous (and it kind of is) but it’s true – risk forms an inherent part of any work activity in some form. So it’s crucial that organisations don’t lose sight and become complacent with offering effective, targeted health and safety training.

It can increase efficiency and productivity. Health and safety procedures require the use of concise language so that tasks are clearly outlined and easy to understand. By implementing clear procedures, employees are able to complete work without having to worry about unsafe working conditions, which can help boost productivity.

It can significantly reduce costs. Not only can a strong health and safety programme lead to a reduction in sick leave and replacement costs, but it can also help safeguard a business from paying out untold amounts in health and safety fines, repairs and reparations.

It helps organisations create a safe company culture. Safe employers are happier employees. A strong health and safety policy can help employers build a good relationship with its employees, create a thriving company culture and serve as an effective draw for highly skilled prospective candidates.

It can raise your industry profile. Cultivating a strong organisational profile is vital for the ongoing success of any business. Building a commitment to health and safety can help employers achieve industry recognition, boost standing, aid in recruitment and bring in lucrative business opportunities.

Why are health and safety policies important?

A health and safety policy sets out an organisation’s commitment to manage health and safety within the workplace. It outlines the responsibilities that are placed on both employers and employees, what risks can be found within the workplace and how such risks should be managed.

Policies often vary wildly between organisations that operate in different industries and sectors, as they document who does what, when and how.

Health and safety policies are important as they:

  • Outline what is expected of employees in terms of ethics, behaviours, or performance standards.
  • Enable an organisation to have clear and consistent response to incidents across different departments of the company.
  • Demonstrate to regulators that the organisation is committed to compliance with any and all regulations and standards.
  • Are necessary to comply with legislation.

Policies also set the tone for an organisation’s internal culture. A good policy sets the standard for organisation’s commitment to the safety of its workers
and the public at large, which can have a positive impact on the actions, behaviour and morale of the workforce.

Who needs health and safety training?

All employees should be trained to work safely and without harm to health. Employers must provide health and safety training that covers all relevant areas that they might come into contact with.

Additionally, employees that take part in particularly high-risk tasks (e.g work at height) or come into contact with hazards as part of their work (e.g use of hazardous substances) must receive training that addresses the specific risks that form part of their work duties.
Ultimately if you are an employer, providing health and safety training to all of your employees at every level should be a priority. Additionally, if you’re self-employed, you are responsible for completing any health and safety training that is required to take part in any work activities relevant to your business.


It’s no accident that employers appear at the top of this list. It’s vital that everyone, from the boardroom all the way through to the mailroom becomes well versed in relevant health and safety.

If employers are not trained to understand the hazards that can be found within their own workplace, or the methods through which to control them, how can they expect employees to be? By taking part in the training process, employers are not only better equipped to oversee health and safety practices, but demonstrate a strong commitment to ensuring health and safety that sets the standard throughout their organisation.

Managers and Supervisors

As the people who are on the ground to oversee key operations, managers and supervisors play a crucial role in creating a safe workplace environment. They must understand how to identify risks, know how to manage them effectively, and be able to take the lead on best practice. As a result, training all managerial and supervisory staff in relevant training should be a priority for any employer.


Whether it’s working at height or using a computer in an office, employees need to understand the health and safety risks associated with their work. Training provides the information they need to help identify and avoid risks, and know the correct procedures to report issues. Through training, employees are able to get to grips with their responsibility to ensure a safe work environment not only for themselves but also for others.

Who provides health and safety training?

It is the responsibility of any employer to ensure relevant and up-to-date training is delivered to the right personnel. However, companies, businesses and organisations may have different methods through which they organise their training process.

Human Resources (HR)

Within the structure of many organisations, the responsibility for supervising the health and safety training process is often managed by Human Resources (HR).

Although the method through which they manage training can differ quite a bit from business to business, many opt to use a Learning Management System (LMS) as a means to monitor the process of all employees, from their induction all the way through to annual refresher courses and role specific training.

Health and Safety/Risk Manager

Employers may choose to assign organisational health and safety to the responsibility of a designated health and safety/risk manager. Managers are often highly qualified and experienced in a wide variety of occupational health and safety concerns, although some may choose to specialise in a certain industry or sector.

H&S and risk managers are often tasked to:

  • Implement effective H&S arrangements and monitor overall performance.
  • Ensure that health and safety issues are considered at all levels, from senior management down to the last employee.
  • Oversee consistent delivery of H&S matters, as well as identify and pursue significant issues and concerns.
  • Regularly asses H&S communication and reporting procedures to validate their effectiveness and actionability.
  • Co-ordinate all health and safety resources including health and safety post-holders and equipment.

Self-employed individuals

Self-employed individuals are also responsible for managing their own training requirements. But no matter who is tasked with overseeing the training process, employers and those who are self-employed are required to ensure that all relevant parties:

  • Receive training that covers any relevant health and safety issues that they may come into contact with.
  • Frequently undertake refresher courses to update their knowledge and understanding of health and safety practices.
  • Are able to request training and have access to any necessary health and safety material, such as a procedural handbook or policy.

For employees, it’s important to know who to go to within their business or organisation to discuss, request and access any aspect of their health and safety training needs.

One of the most effective things that both employers and employees can benefit from is an open line of communication that starts at the top of the executive branch and permeates all levels within an organisation’s structure. Not only will everyone know exactly who is responsible for health and safety, but they’ll also know who to talk to about any concerns they may have with their own training.

When should health and safety training be provided?


Too many employees are injured in their first week at work. Before anyone starts a new job, or a new role with an existing employer, suitable training must be provided so they can work safely from day 1.

Regular training sessions/refresher courses

Health and safety training should never be seen as a one-off or simple box-ticking experience. Rather, it is part of engaging with improvements in health and safety culture and practice.

Disciplinary action

Employees might be asked to attend training as an outcome of disciplinary action, particularly if the incident relates to a breach of health and safety procedures.

On request

If an employee feels that they are not sufficiently familiar with the requirements of their role they should feel comfortable to ask for additional training, without being penalised or treated differently for doing so.


Whatever training people have had in advance, it is often useful to provide additional instruction about a specific task, and reminders of the safety measures needed. In construction these are often referred to as “toolbox talks” and in lean manufacturing, there is a daily “huddle” to bring everyone up to speed. Shift-handovers in process industries serve a similar purpose, or checking that people are aware of current work health and safety measures required.

Ultimately, health and safety training should never be considered inconvenient or as a one-off box-ticking exercise. One of the key things that employers can do to ensure the success of a health and safety program is to take steps to ensure that it becomes part of the natural fabric of workplace culture.

How is training delivered?

Health and safety, like almost any other kind of essential training out on the market, faces a dilemma that can have an impact on the ways in which training is delivered:

This is one of the most enduring questions debated amongst training professionals to this day. While both delivery methods share a common goal in educating employees in essential best practice, they have their own positives and negatives.

With the debate still raging on, it’s good to take a look at the various pros and cons of each type of learning. Every organisation is different, so it makes sense to find a training method that ticks all the boxes of your training needs.

There are always two sides of a coin, but the method of training should be selected based on what is most appropriate for the users to achieve the best result.
For some organisations, online training is more appropriate, while for others classroom training is the preferred method of delivery. But ultimately, the question shouldn’t be “which is better” but rather “what is the best method to deliver the best result for my health and safety training strategy”.

How do you make health and safety training effective?

While there are many learning processes through which health and safety training can be delivered, one of the most effective methods is through active learning. People learn more when they can work things out for themselves from what they already know. This places the student at the centre of the learning process as active agents, rather than simply passively absorbing information.


Multiple choice, drag and drop, true or false and hotspots are all examples of interactive elements that encourage learners to think about and process content, and prevents them from passively clicking through training without taking in any information.


Branching is an instructional design method that shares many similarities with the choose your own adventure books of old.

They are based on relevant case studies, and empower learners to determine their own responses to a given scenario. This allows them to see the consequence of an incorrect action – grounding the event in a sense of realism and reinforcing the importance of accountability. As a result, it is an effective method that engages users in critical thinking and decision making activities.


“It has been said that next to hunger and thirst, our most basic human need is for storytelling.” Stories are powerful. From books to poetry, television to film, we become invested in the characters we meet, in their experiences, their trials, and their successes. Weaving health and safety into a form of narrative can drive home the importance of good practice and allow users to reflect on their own understanding of health and safety practice. The familiarity found in narrative serves as an excellent method that can help engage students in the learning experience.

Incorporate the real world

Sometimes there can be a big difference between the theory and reality. Your training may be replete with amazing animations and innovations, but it won’t mean anything if your employees can’t see the real-world application. One of the key benefits of using an active learning method in your training is that it allows your audience to apply what they are learning. As a result, using suitable, relevant and realistic case studies and scenarios to emphasise crucial elements of your training can help keep your audience focused and engaged. After all, information is always better to learn when it can be put to direct use.

What things should you consider when looking for training?

Gamification. Virtual Reality. Embedded Social Media. AI. These are just some of the avenues that learning developers are using to explore and create new experiences. While all of these innovations are exciting and boundary-breaking, employers should see what value they bring to the table. However, there are a few things that employers and managers should consider when looking to invest in training that suits their organisational needs.


Delivering a large volume of highly detailed information can lead even the most diligent employees to lose focus over time. As a result it’s essential then that employers find a training solution that really engages users in the learning process.

There are a number of methods that employers can use to keep users on track. Using a variety of visual media such as images, videos and animations to deliver can help break up large bodies of text and help users to understand and deconstruct information more easily.

Quizzes, tests and knowledge checks ensure that employees play an active role in the learning experience, and can help reinforce key points and behaviours. As an added benefit, results can be compiled and tracked, which enables employers to identify any potential knowledge gaps and target areas for improvement.

Case studies and scenario based learning can prompt users to apply their own critical thinking and decision making skills to a given situation. It also allows them to see the consequences that can stem from a lack of awareness and training. The more realistic the course is, the more employers can ensure it reflects the reality of the employee’s position.


The content of any health and safety course should always be regularly assessed and updated to ensure it complies with current legislation and industry best practice.

Regularly updating training should never be considered just a simple box-ticking exercise. Indeed, the things we know about health and safety are constantly changing as trial and error and new research informs our understanding of risks and the best ways in which to manage them. Imagine if training across any industry didn’t change after research found the dangers of asbestos? Or if fire safety didn’t reflect the changes in our current understanding of effective evacuation procedures?

Providing employees with the most current understanding of workplace risk ensures that they are armed with the knowledge to eliminate, prevent and minimise risks that can be found within the contemporary workplace.


The term “content is king” is often overused in today’s online culture, but for health and safety training, good content is essential.

Is it well written? Does it go into enough detail? How long is it? Does it highlight key principles? Does it engage learners? These are all things that can determine whether the content of the course is able to address your training needs effectively.

Relevance should also be based on whether your training covers specific risks that are found within your workplace. In recent years the health and safety market has been flooded with off-the-shelf courses. While many of these courses do cover health and safety issues, they might not address risks that are unique to your organisation. If this is an issue, editable courses could be the best solution.

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much training. Information overload is a common pitfall that employers can fall in to.

By trying to provide a comprehensive learning experience, employers can often enrol users on training that may not necessarily apply to them. Not only does this overload users with information that has no bearing on their role, but excessive training can incur additional costs and reduce the efficiency of the overall training process.

As a result, employers should always ensure that the content of their health and safety training is both relevant and proportionate to the needs of their employees.


Assessing employees knowledge and understanding of key actions and procedures should always be a key consideration for health and safety training.

How does the course assess the user? Indeed as discussed above, there are many different methods that can be used to gauge user understanding, from task-based simulations, multiple-choice quizzes or problem-solving case studies, it’s important to consider the ways in which to gauge a users understanding and ability to recall key information.

Additionally, employers should consider how they are able to assess their learners. Knowing if a learner has passed or failed a course for example, just isn’t enough. What was their pass/fail margin? Was there an area that they struggled to understand/engage with? How successful were they at retaining and applying their understanding of the course? If employers are able to see and measure this element of the training knowledge, they can help the user to develop their understanding where they need it most, making the training process more effective.


Developing an effective health and safety training program can often seem like an intimidating undertaking, but it’s all for the greater good. Ultimately, health and safety training should never be considered as just another compliance exercise, but as a crucial step towards success.

From stress awareness to DSE training, our health and safety courses are designed to provide users with the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe in the workplace. All of our courses are fully editable, intuitively designed, and regularly updated every 12-18 months to ensure the highest standard of training and compliance.

Disclaimer: This article is purely for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. For more information on workplace health and safety in the UK, visit the Health and Safety Executive.
For more information on EssentialSkillz, visit our About Us page.

Builder imprisoned after three-year-old girl suffers head injuries

A young girl in Brighton has been left with life-changing injuries after she was struck on the head by a falling piece of timber during a day out with her mother.

The girl passed underneath a scaffolded area that was being used for a flat renovation project. The timber, which had not been appropriately secured to the structure, fell 10 metres and hit the toddler while she was being pushed along a pavement in her pram.

An investigation by the HSE found that the builder had not secured the beam with an appropriate knot, and had failed to establish an exclusion zone which would have prevented the public from passing directly underneath the lifting area.

The builder pleaded guilty to breaching the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, plus 220 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £5727.92.

The lead HSE inspector Stephen Green commented: ‘This horrendous incident would have been the last thing on the minds of this little girl and her mum as they set off for a fun day out at the beach. The impact this incident has had on the girl and her family was easily prevented by simply stopping people from walking beneath the suspended timber whilst it was lifted’.

Read the full story


Woman fatally crushed by a roller shutter door

A 40-year-old social worker received multiple fatal injuries after she became caught in a roller shutter door in an underground car park in Cambridge.

The woman became trapped when she came in to contact with the grill as it opened. Motion detectors on the shutter failed to stop the door from closing, and she was pulled in to the mechanism which resulted in a number of fatal crush injuries.

An investigation by the HSE found that a safety test, conducted only a month before by an electrical safety company, had failed to adequately assess the shutter for faults.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act, received a fine of £25,000 and was ordered to pay additional costs of £6,500.

HSE inspector Graeme Warden concluded: ‘This tragic and distressing incident has had an untold impact on all those who knew the victim. It could have been avoided if the company had ensured employees were suitably trained to inspect the doors and the functioning of the safety sensors’.

Read the full story


Engineering company fined after worker crushed to death

A unit manager suffered from multiple fatal crush injuries after he became trapped by a moving gantry crane at an engineering firm in Storrington, Pulborough.

The engineer had been working on a superconducting magnetic coil which is located on top of a tank. Recent work had risen the height that employees could work. An investigation by the HSE found that the engineering company had failed to amend their safety procedures to account for the changes, which put workers at risk of coming into contact with the moving crane. Investigators also found that no measures existed to make sure that the crane could not be operated while workers were accessing the area.

The engineering company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act, received a fine of £400,000 and were ordered to pay costs of £7546.72.

Concluding the case, HSE inspector Russell Beckett stated: ‘Simple measures to either lock out the crane or to prevent workers accessing dangerous areas could have been implemented but were not, which ultimately led to a worker losing his life.’

Read the full story