Employers have a legal duty under Work Health and Safety laws to provide information, training and supervision to protect people’s health and safety. Note: The definition of People – all employees, contractors, labour hire, casual and anyone else who attends the workplace.
As such, training must be provided to ensure that people are able to undertake their work safely and without risk to themselves or others.
Whilst, thankfully, there are now a huge variety of methods to deliver safety training to make it more engaging to the audience, careful consideration should still be given to how best to ensure the message is received. For example, education methods may differ depending on the circumstances:-
- to educate employees on how to safety use a piece of equipment would be best suited to both theoretical and practical education
- to educated employees on the new policy relating to mobile phone use – this may be via the provision of the actual document and/or an information session
- for an audience that is non English – consider training in their speaking language
Even when training has been provided, if the method of training is not effective and an incident occurs as a result, the employer may face heavy penalties.
Courts provide many examples of employers found liable due to lack of training. Some examples include:-
- an investigation found that a failure to provide information, instruction, training and supervision resulted in an employee suffering second degree burns to 20% of his body after splashing fuel on to a recently completed weld
- a company failed to ensure that only adequately trained and licensed operators used mobile equipment resulting in an employee’s death after being thrown from an elevated work platform
- adequate training was not provided to a worker who suffered full thickness alkali burns to his feet due to hazardous chemicals spilt on the floor
Penalties for employers can range from huge financial payments to jail time, therefore it is imperative that employers meet their training obligations.
For assistance with training and education in these areas please contact us at [email protected] or 1300 720 004
Information in HR Advice Online guides and blog posts is meant purely for educational discussion of human resources issues. It contains only general information about human resources matters and due to factors such as government legislation changes, may not be up-to-date at the time of reading. It is not legal advice and should not be treated as such.