The importance of a thorough induction programme
Starting a new job should be an exciting time, but sadly for many newbies the first few weeks are spent scribbling countless notes and feeling uncertain about what they’re supposed to be doing. Often, managers are too busy to find the time for a proper induction- leaving new employees struggling to find something to do and feeling increasingly confused and under confident.
It may mean investing a few extra hours at the beginning, but creating a thorough induction process for all new employees will pay dividends in the long run. As well as role-specific inductions and handovers which outline the day-to-day tasks required to undertake their jobs, employees will also need to be made aware of their responsibilities when it comes to Health and Safety. Including H&S training in your induction ensures that all staff know what is required of them in order to work safely, and are clear about who to contact in an emergency. Not only will this help your organisation avoid costly accidents, it also empowers staff to feel confident and competent in their roles.
A thorough induction process isn’t just advisable, it’s a legal requirement. The 1974 Health and Safety Act requires all businesses to carry out adequate induction and training to keep their staff safe and well. This was expanded in 1999 by the Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations which identify key times when training is most crucial- e.g. at the beginning of a new job or when skills need updating.
No matter how thorough the training, Health and Safety should be an ongoing process which becomes part of your organisation’s culture- so build in time for regular refreshers to keep skills and knowledge up to date. It may not always seem like the most inspiring subject, but there are plenty of fun ways to assess your employees’ skills and knowledge without spending hours filling in countless amount of paperwork- try short quizzes and exercises to get people thinking.
So, who needs a Health and Safety induction? Everyone! From full-time staff to volunteers, senior managers to contractors, anyone who is regularly based in your workplace will need to have training and regular refreshers in order to maintain a safe and productive environment. One of the key causes of fatalities in the case of fires is panic- if people are clear on how to behave in an emergency, they are much more likely to make it out safely.
Following the training always undertake a short evaluation exercise to confirm that everybody understands what is required of them and knows who to talk to in the event of an emergency, and keep all documents and notice boards up to date.
If in doubt, ask a professional organisation like Harrier UK to deliver your training and conduct a Health and Safety audit.