Do you work in the hospitality industry?  If so then you’ll understand how challenging health and safety training in hospitality can be for employees.

Background

The hospitality industry employs a high proportion of minimum wage employees and having a relatively high turnover of staff. Some of the main barriers explaining why low skilled employees would be unable or unwilling to undertake (further) work related training are:

  • Training Fees – With such a high turnover of staff, employers often feel that they do not see a return on their investment in providing training.
  • Time – The lack of time to do training during the workday is a barrier for many employees, especially part-time employees whose time taken in training would be a greater proportion of their total working week.
  • Language – In the UK, the hospitality industry has traditionally had a high proportion of employees whose first language is not English. Providing a training course in each employee’s native tongue is not seen as a cost-effective option by many employers.
  • Motivation – Many employees cannot see the benefit in participating in work related training. It is up to the employer to demonstrate the benefits rather than send employees on a course as part of a ‘tick-box exercise’.

Why provide health and safety training?

First and foremost, providing health and safety training and information helps you to ensure that people who work for you know how to work safely and without risks to health. By developing a positive health and safety culture, safe and healthy working becomes second nature to everyone.

Importantly, every employer has a legal duty to protect the health and safety of their employees. Situations where health and safety training is particularly important include:

  • when people start work,
  • on exposure to new or increased risks, and
  • where existing skills may have become rusty or need updating.

Who needs health and safety training?

The short answer is everybody! As an employer, you need to ensure that:

  • You’re up to date with how to identify the hazards and control the risks from your work.
  • Safety support and information is available from sources such as your trade association, your local chamber of commerce, or your health and safety enforcing authority.
  • Your management team know what you have to do about consulting your employees, or their representatives, on health and safety issues.
  • Your employees know what you expect from them in terms of health and safety, and how you expect them to deliver. They need to understand your health and safety policy, where they fit in, and how you want health and safety to be managed. They may also need training in the specific hazards of your processes and how you expect the risks to be controlled. They also need to know how they can raise any health and safety concerns with you.
  • Young employees are particularly vulnerable to accidents and you need to pay particular attention to their needs, so their training should be a priority. It is also important that new, inexperienced or young employees are adequately supervised.

Where to start?

Firstly, you should show your commitment so the people being trained recognise that the training is important. You should emphasise that despite all its negative publicity, Health and Safety is more than a ‘necessary evil’, by properly managing risks, work can be done safely and more economically with fewer accidents.

Consulting with your employees on the planning and organisation of the training is important and make sure that you properly prioritise and plan the training needs for your business.

Terra Firma 360 can help you by providing ‘competent assistance’. Get in touch for a friendly chat today- no pressure.

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Written by Andy Camroux, Health and Safety Consultant