Health and safety training

The Health and safety at Work, etc Act 1974 requires employers to provide adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to enable work to be carried out safely.

Training is usually required at the following stages of employment:

  • induction (and sometimes pre-employment)

  • at the beginning of a new work activity

  • whenever there is a significant change in work activity

  • possibly following illness or injury, or during rehabilitation

  • refresher training to ensure competence is maintained.

All staff should be given basic health and safety information about their workplace, usually at induction. In addition, in house or outside training on relevant health and safety matters should be made available to employees at the earliest opportunity.

Typical health and safety training in education

The level and amount of training should be appropriate, with regard to the knowledge and experience of staff. ATL believes it is reasonable for training and/or information provided to staff in schools and colleges to include the following:

  • emergency procedures, eg fire, first aid, reporting accidents

  • safe use of equipment

  • electrical safety

  • manual handling

  • safe use of display screen equipment

  • possible exposure to asbestos

  • stress management

  • personal safety

  • risks and control measures in relation to harmful chemicals and other dangerous substances.

Temporary employees

Supply teachers and other temporary employees are sometimes omitted from the induction process. At the very least, they should be informed of emergency procedures, risk assessments that are in place for their subject, and about systems for reporting accidents, near-misses and defects. Educational establishments should keep a record of this induction.

Training for safety reps

Safety reps are appointed by recognised trade unions, which are responsible for providing training to enable them to carry out their various functions. They have the right to be paid for the time off that is necessary to undergo training. ATL provides a comprehensive, accredited training course for its safety reps (see link on the right-hand side of this page).

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