I came across a worrying new statistic the other day from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

According to the HSE, people are just as likely to have an accident within 6 months of starting at a new place of work as they are during the whole of the rest of their working lives.

This raises concerns not only about young people going to work for the first time, but anyone starting a new job, changing roles or moving to a new location.

Our own research at NEBOSH has found that not all employers provide information to employees about health and safety. A survey we carried out last year revealed that fewer than two-thirds of people in work had ever received basic health and safety training, such as a health and safety induction. In addition, less than half had received any kind of fire safety training.

The statistic from the HSE makes it clear that basic health and safety training is not only essential, but must be given to all new starters from the very outset.

The law makes this clear too. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires employers to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of employees.

This is expanded by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which identifies situations where health and safety training is particularly important, such as when people start work, on exposure to new or increased risks and where existing skills need updating.

To help employers, the HSE has recently produced a brief online guide called ‘New to the job’, which includes links to further relevant information.

The guide stresses the importance of assessing any new starter’s capabilities – things such as literacy and numeracy levels, general health, work experience, physical capability to do the job and familiarity with the working environment.

It goes on to outline 5 further steps – induction, control measures, information, supervision and undertanding.

View the ‘New to the Job’ Guide Here

About Teresa Budworth