Health and Safety in the workplace is of paramount importance to all businesses, big or small. While the current government has pledged to remove Health and Safety red tape for businesses, this does not mean that any firm can afford to ignore the implications of existing legislation, nor does the lifting of some regulations mean that firms should not undertake necessary safety precautions and ensure that the workplace and working practices are fully compliant with the law. For small firms, in particular, the obligations can seem onerous but with the right health and safety training, health and safety practices can be implemented that are effective and ensure that your staff work safely and limit loss of productivity resulting from accidents.

Health and Safety Responsibilities

At a basic level every member of your firm is responsible for Health and Safety, but managers, HR staff and business owners in particular all need to be aware of their responsibilities and be active in implementing and promoting safety at work. In small firms the necessary expertise may be lacking – as managers or supervisors may have a large range of responsibilities. Ensuring that these members of staff are equipped with suitable skills and knowledge is therefore vital. One of the best training packages available for small firms is the NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety.  This is a nationally recognised qualification that provides an excellent grounding in occupational health and safety.

Training Requirements

Although there is no legal requirement for managers and supervisors to have formal qualifications in Health and Safety the NEBOSH qualifications are worth considering.  For business owners fostering a positive attitude to safety issues and procedures is essential. The health and safety certificate offers not only a broad level of information, but helps in understanding issues and legislation relating to workplace safety. It also equips those who take the qualification with valuable skills that will, in the longer term, save time and money for your firm. By understanding safety issues and becoming familiar with appropriate assessments, including fire risk assessments, staff are able to manage safety issues efficiently and learn to prepare and implement safety procedures quickly. Greater awareness of health and safety issues will also help to foster a positive and practical approach in the workplace.

Practical Training for Professionals

Most firms that offer the NEBOSH courses will offer either in-house training or training at their own centres.  For firms who require a number of staff to be trained, the in-house option is probably the most suitable; while for those who require only one or two staff to be trained outsourcing is sensible. The NEBOSH General Certificate itself is broken down into three sections; management of Health and Safety, Workplace hazards and the final assessment section. The assessment includes two written examinations and a practical assessment; this latter is conducted in the firm’s own premises, which is useful on a practical level.