• 26 February 2014

Why health and safety training is necessary for companies

Making sure your employees are health and safety conscious is vital to your business. Proper health and safety training in the work environment helps both employees and employers stay safe while reducing the chance of work related injury or illness.

When over one million people are injured in the workplace each year, it is vital that health and safety precautions are strictly adhered to and fully understood by all parties involved, in order to prevent any tragic outcome. On top of this, it is an employer’s legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of employees in the workplace.

Health and safety training

Among the steps that employers should take to ensure that employees are safe in the workplace, providing training is one of the most important. The more informed employees are of their environment, and the measures they should be taking in order to stay safe in the workplace, the better. Sufficient training will enable employees to:

  • Understand their responsibilities to themselves and their colleagues.
  • Work in a positive health and safety culture, where adhering to health and safety regulations is second nature.
  • Avoid accidents and potentially dangerous situations.
  • Avoid occupational illness in later life.

If an employer fails to provide an employee with sufficient information, training and equipment, they are liable for any accident or illness that is deemed reasonably predictable in the context of the work environment.

Accidents in the workplace – case studies

Without adequate training, accidents can easily occur in the workplace and have done so on many occasions, leading to employers paying thousands of pounds in fines and compensation.

Engineer receives £200,000 after losing fingers

An employee who lost part of his fingers in an accident in the workplace was awarded £200,000 in compensation in an out of Court settlement.

The employee, who worked as a service engineer at a diesel generator farm, was servicing a generator when he observed that the mesh guard fitted above the generator was vibrating. The wire-guard was designed to protect the operator from the fast-spinning metal blades within, which as the employee went to fix the guard, pulled his hand towards the fan severing the tops of three of his fingers up to the middle knuckle. The victim’s Solicitor stated after the event:

“It later transpired that the gaps between the mesh of the guard were much larger than they should have been, and the guard was far too close to the fan to prevent the fingers of anyone operating the generator from being sucked through into the rotating blades. Had the correct guard been in place my client’s accident would have been avoided entirely.”

Mesothelioma victim wins compensation claim

A former power station worker, who was exposed to asbestos in the 1960s, was diagnosed with the fatal lung disease mesothelioma in 2012.

The victim was awarded a six figure settlement under the Pneumoconiosis Workman’s Compensation Act within six months of the claim, while enquiries were made as to the former employer’s whereabouts. In instances where compensation is owed to a victim, all channels will be investigated including attempts to locate those responsible – the employer in most cases. Where this is not possible, Acts such as the Pneumoconiosis Workman’s Compensation Act can provide the much needed funds for medical care and quality of life.

Health and safety in the workplace

As these case studies demonstrate, workplace injuries and illnesses can occur in a variety of ways and it is necessary that employers take the appropriate precautions to protect their employees. From the employee’s perspective, it also tells them that the company they work for is interested in their personal welfare, and therefore provides a greater motivation to work hard while instilling loyalty.

If an employee experiences an accident in the workplace, it can not only result in costly compensation claims, but an injured or ill employee which will also cost money to replace. It is therefore vital that employers take care to train their employees in health and safety regulations, as well as monitor how well these rules are adhered to on a daily basis. This will not only help to prevent employees getting injured in the workplace, but it reinforces to employees that they are highly valued within the business.


Further information

This blog is written by the expert personal injury solicitors at Manchester based firm, Slater Heelis.