The Importance of Health and Safety Training


Who needs health and safety training? Employers often wonder why hazard awareness instruction is important — since many of the safe work practices included seem evident and need no explanation. Workers new to a job, though, may not recognize hazards that seem so apparent to you. On the other end of that scale, more experienced workers may have developed unsafe practices that they’ve relied on so long they fail to see why making a change at all is important.

Our environmental health and safety teams often find employers are willing to set aside the time for health and safety training for their employees — but do so begrudgingly. They follow through only to remain in compliance with regulations. There’s another major reason why hazard awareness training is important, though: When you show your employees you care about their wellbeing, they tend to care more about you and your business. That means health and safety training is a win-win experience for all concerned.

Here is a list of FAQs our health and safety experts field most often.

Why Is Health and Safety Training Important?

Health and safety training helps reduce workplace accidents, keeps you in compliance with the law, and fosters a safety-conscious culture both on and off the job. Proper training allows employees to spot risks and shows them how to prevent accidents.

Health and safety training is important in another way, too: It can reduce your insurance premiums and keep you from being the defendant in a case involving an on-the-job mishap. Asking “Why is health and safety training important” is a bit like asking why drinking water is important. The answer is that it is good for you, your company, and those who work for you.

What Is Health and Safety at Work Training?

Health and safety training at work aims to provide employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to help keep themselves and their teammates safe on the job. Components of health and safety at work training include an introduction to the various workplace regulations, training on how to identify potential hazards, training on how to mitigate hazards, and instruction on the best steps to take should an emergency occur.

Many of the skills learned can also be applied off the job, and employers who bring FACS experts on board to help with health and safety training often report that employees later tell how the presentation prompted them to become more aware of safety hazards off the job as well as on.

What Topics To Include in Hazard Awareness Training?

Your hazard awareness training program may cover a variety of topics, ranging from fire safety and chemical handling to ergonomic considerations and emergency response plans. The curriculum should be relevant to your workplace and adapted to meet the specific needs of your employees. Safety experts often refer to the “7 types of hazards” every employer should highlight (depending, again, on your particular situation).

Here is that list:

  1. Physical hazards include slip and fall hazards, tool and equipment hazards, sharp object hazards, and similar.
  2. Ergonomic hazards are related to body movements and positioning while at work. Repetitive motions, forceful exertion, and proper footwear are examples.
  3. Chemical hazards can expose employees to vapors, fumes, liquids, and particulates that are harmful to health. Asbestos, chlorine, and pesticides are examples of chemical hazards.
  4. Biological hazards include harmful bacteria and viruses. Employees coming to work while ill with influenza or COVID, bloodborne pathogens, mold and fungi exposure, and more are biological hazards.
  5. Emotional/psychological hazards can stir up stress, whether from harassment and workplace bullying or the nature of the work itself, stress is an often overlooked, but dangerous hazard.
  6. Electrical hazards expose employees to the risk of electrical shock. Simple actions like plugging or unplugging a lamp are dangerous if there are exposed wires. Other sources of electrical hazards include a lack of circuit protection, faulty insulation, and conditions where standing water is present.
  7. Environmental hazards arise from the workplace surroundings. They include improper ventilation and insufficient lighting as well as threats from natural hazards like wildfires or floods.

It can be helpful to refer to the list of “7 types of hazards” when developing the hazard awareness training protocol for your business.

What Is Hazard Awareness?

Hazard awareness is the ability to recognize and understand the potential dangers in a work environment. It’s the first step in the process of creating a safe workspace. The recognition of a hazard is the first step in mitigating it.

This is the topic FACS health and safety experts tell us often has the most effect on employees. We were all taught by our parents to “look both ways before crossing the road,” but we often fail to carry that level of situational awareness with us to the workplace. The truth is that we are all exposed to potential hazards daily — both on and off the job. The more aware we are of our surroundings and the more capable we are of identifying hazards, the more likely we are to remain safe and uninjured.

Who Needs Health and Safety Training?

Everyone in your organization needs some form of health and safety training. While the depth and extent may vary depending on the role, a fundamental level of knowledge about health and safety is important for everyone working for your company.

You will necessarily need to provide specific training for specific tasks. Your company nurse may not need to know how to operate a circular saw, and your construction workers may not need to know as much about the risk of bloodborne pathogens as the nurse. When you develop your health and safety plan, the type of work will likely play a big part in the content you include in the health and safety training.

You may want to get FACS health and safety experts involved in both the development of your health and safety plan and in either the training of your staff instructors or as expert trainers who help your team develop hazard awareness and mitigation skills.

Call us for more information at 888-711-9998, or you can contact FACS through our contact form.