How You Can Deliver The Best Health and Safety Training

(And Why You Should Care)


Gary Rowe

| August 16 2019

How You Can Deliver The Best Health and Safety Training (And Why You Should Care)

Blog Post | Reading Time: 7 Mins

Safety rules are just part of the purpose of completing health and safety training. If your training doesn’t provide motivation to follow safety rules and isn't task and equipment specific, it might be time to review your material.

At the start of every Safety Leadership training course, we ask our participants 10 questions about safety.

They’re not trick questions. They’re quite straight-forward.

Before the test we also ask them how many questions they think they’ll get right.

Most people think they’ll get about 80% right.

How do they go?

Time and time again, they get 80% wrong.

We tell the participants that half the things you’ve been told about safety are probably wrong.


When we talk to safety managers about this, they’re usually not surprised. They admit they’re often in a hurry and rarely have time to check the actual legislation or codes to its full extent.

So why should you care about delivering great safety training in your business?

Before looking at some reasons why you should care, it helps to understand the real purpose of safety training. 


What Is The Real Purpose Of Health And Safety Training?

There are a few common reasons why you might do Health and Safety Training. You might do it:

  • To tick a box.
  • For legal compliance.
  • In response to union pressure.
  • Because it’s something you've always done.

But what is the real purpose of Health and Safety Training?

The real reason is “To provide knowledge and motivation for workers to follow your safety rules and allow them to work safely.”

Notice that safety rules are just part of the purpose of Safety Training? They’re not the whole picture.

Just because someone knows what they should do, doesn’t mean they'll do it.

Your employees must be motivated to follow your safety rules.

If you’re like most people, when someone breaks one of your safety rules, your inclination is to say, ‘Let’s re-train’.

Guest what?

If they knew what to do, but still chose not to, more training won’t help. Re-training is a waste of time and resources.


In fact, most people have the safety programs and rules in place. That’s not the issue. The issue is getting everyone to understand why we are doing it. This is why we always recommend our clients complete our Safety Leadership training.

Do you wonder if you should invest more in Health and Safety Training?

There are 3 reasons it might be a good idea in your business…


3 Reasons You Should Invest In Health And Safety Training

1. Legal Compliance

You might have expected to see ‘to keep people safe’ as the number one reason.

In our experience, this is not the number one reason businesses choose to invest time and money in safety training.

Legal compliance is the biggest motivator.

One of the most common causes of safety prosecutions in Australia is failing to provide adequate health and safety training.

Section 19 of the harmonised WHS Act and Section 21 of the Victorian OHS Act require that all workers have been adequately trained and competent to perform their work.

If you have a legal requirement to do something you can’t ignore it without potential consequences. You just have to do it.

All your workers must have had training and be competent to perform their tasks.

This makes the decision quite straightforward. It’s a breach of the safety law not to have trained all your workers.

This is the reason everyone needs to do a site safety induction.


2. To ensure workers consistently and efficiently perform their work

Businesses want efficiency.

One of our long-standing clients, Toyota is a great example.

Everything in Toyota is done with consistency and efficiency in mind. They want to know everyone is carrying out their tasks in the same way, every time. The efficient and correct way.

When one of your workers is shown the correct way to use equipment within a given process and environment, work gets performed more efficiently.

This saves your business time and money.


3. To help ensure safe operations

Training is more than showing how to use equipment.

Good safety training makes workers aware of the potential hazards and how to control them.

When trained in the correct procedure there is only one way to do the job, and more importantly is the safe efficient way to do it.

This leads to reduced injuries, which in turn, saves you money.


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What happens if you don’t invest enough in Safety Training?

Not investing enough in safety training means:

  • Risk of prosecution.
  • Inefficient and inconsistent practices.
  • Potential for unsafe practices.

So how much Health and Safety Training is enough?


Is Your Company’s Safety Induction Sufficient Training?


Don’t get me wrong. Safety Inductions are required and are a great starting point however , it’s not enough to rely on your safety induction alone.

Some managers think inductions are the total answer to training.

Inductions should act as a launch point into the best kind of health and safety training.


The Best Kind Of Health And Safety Training

The best kind of Safety Training is Task and Equipment specific.

When an incident gets to court the only training the courts are interested in is task and equipment specific - Even if the induction you did was OK.


Good safety training shows a particular person how to operate this particular equipment or do this particular task or job.

For example, if you say, ‘When you use these stairs, you always have to use the handrail’, you’re being task and equipment specific.

How can you test you have been task and equipment specific in your training?

Walk around your workplace. Pick a person at random, and ask yourself:

“What safety training records do we have for that person, doing that task using that specific piece of equipment.”

If you can’t answer that question or have insufficient records, you’ll need to review your approach to safety training.


How Do I Record This For Each Department In Practice?

A skills matrix is the best way to record task and equipment specific training. They’re normally quite simple. For each worker they record:

  • Name
  • Team or department
  • Equipment/task they are trained in and authorised to carry out.

The skills matrix becomes the visual thing that helps your supervisors quickly see who is trained and authorised to operate certain equipment or perform certain tasks.

Contact us and we’ll send you a free skills matrix template. We'll send you the same one that all our safety consultants use.


Does Safety Training Need To Be Done In Person?

The best training is face to face.

For example, when we run our Safety Leadership training, we always run it face to face.

In our experience, it’s the best way to make the training fun and engaging.

But what if you can’t do Face to Face Training?

However, it’s not always practical or cost effective for many companies to run face to face training.

This is especially the case if your workforce is large or widely geographically spread.

If you must deliver training online, there are ways to make it engaging and interesting.

It will be more difficult because there’s no sense of timing and inflection, but you can avoid most of the pitfalls that make it boring and dull. It will just take some additional effort.

The advice we give our clients is don’t default to online training.

Do face to face training if you can.

We’ve helped some of our clients develop great online training. It can be done!


So Why Is So Much Of The Safety Training Out There So DULL And BORING.

Actually, to be fair, I wouldn’t say most safety training is boring… it’s actually deadly boring.

Bored gif

Why is that?

The problem is most of the online training is developed by IT, rather than good trainers and effective communicators.

That’s a big mistake.

When you’re developing any sort of training, make sure you get the right people to develop it. And make sure they’re given the time and resources they need to develop the best.


What Can You Do To Improve Your Safety Training Right Now?

Step back and have an honest look at the Safety Training in your business.

Does your training provide motivation as well as knowledge? If it doesn’t, review your material.

Ask yourself if you’ve been relying too much on your induction. Pick a person at random and ask the all important question…

“What safety records do we have for that person, doing that task using that specific piece of equipment”.
Woman-using-an industrial-machine

Photo by Kat Maryschuk on Unsplash


If you don’t have any. Start today!

Create a simple skills matrix (contact us if you’d like a template) and just get started.

If you don’t know where to start, we recommend you and your key leaders sign up for our next Safety Leadership training. It’ll give you the knowledge, confidence and skill to spot and change unsafe conditions and practices. Learn how to change it quicker and easier than you ever thought possible!

Stay safe.


Need help or advice developing or implementing Safety Training in your business? Take away the guesswork and talk to one of our expert Safety Consultants. Call +61 (03) 8544 4300.

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