Employers have to ensure that prescribed personal protective equipment is provided that it’s in good working condition and used properly. Employers set the workplace health and safety policy and establish a program to implement that policy.  They are required to co-operate with their health and safety representatives, employ competent supervisors, and inform and instruct workers on health and safety hazards in the workplace, providing written instruction and training as required.  While all of these help an employer meet their responsibilities under the Act, training is probably the most recognized element of a Health and Safety program for both employers and workers. 

Employers need to put their health and safety program into action and training is often a first step. It supports the three workers rights and provides evidence that the employer is taking steps to inform and educate staff. The workers’ right to know is supported by providing information and instruction about hazards. The right to participate is supported by giving workers’ knowledge and skills to identify hazards, suggest improvements and take part on workplace committees or as a health and safety representative. Finally, training provides workers with information to help determine what work is safe or unsafe in support of the right to refuse unsafe work. 

“Despite the importance of training as a tool to change worker health and safety practices, there has been little research into what kind of training is most effective.”

As employers look for cost effect methods to deliver information and training to workers, in order to meet their legal requirements, there has been a shift to alternate delivery methods like elearning and blended learning. Recent research conducted by the Institute for Work and Health highlights blended/enhanced learning as an effective methodology. “Despite the importance of training as a tool to change worker health and safety practices, there has been little research into what kind of training is most effective,” says Senior Scientist Dr. Ben Amick. “Our study shows that both in-person and online training improve worker practices … However, both methods are significantly more effective when followed up by enhanced [blended] training.” 

Effective health and safety training needs to fit the purpose and needs of the workers who are taking that training.  When health and safety training is followed up by in-person support it is most likely to be effective in helping to create a safe workplace

Kim Slade-Traynor
editorial@mediaplanet.com