If you think you have health and safety knowledge gaps among your workforce, here’s what you can do to tackle the problem.
Understanding all the health and safety laws and regulations that impact businesses in the UK can be a tall order. It’s often challenging for Environmental Health and Safety managers to stay abreast of developments and changes, so it’s no surprise that uncertainty filters throughout an organisation.
Identify the reason for gaps
First things first – you need to get to the bottom of why there are knowledge gaps in your business. Have you lost a number of staff and are now managing a team of new starters? Is the standard of training not high enough? Could it be due to the fact that managers aren’t communicating health and safety practices effectively? Drill down into the possibilities (remembering to actually ask your workforce why they think they have knowledge gaps) so you can be sure that issues don’t continue to resurface.
2. Organise training
The quickest (and often most effective) way to fill any skills gaps you’ve identified is to organise high quality training to meet your workers’ needs. For the best value you can organise large classes to take place, covering subjects that are relevant to a large population of your workforce. However, don’t be tempted to ‘skimp’ on training for smaller groups, or even specific individuals – if they have a particular knowledge gap to fill, it needs addressing. For example, a handful of individuals may require specialised training to teach them how to use machinery properly, so it’s undoubtedly worth the investment and may in fact be a legal requirement that you ensure it takes place.
3. Make the most of digital learning
Face-to-face training certainly has a number of benefits, and it’s sometimes the most effective method of learning – particularly if your workers need to get ‘hands-on’ to grasp a subject. However, digital learning has its place too, and offering some online training can be very effective if it’s put forward judiciously. Don’t overwhelm your workforce with a barrage of courses to complete but do sign them up for refresher training on key health and safety principles. Even a multiple-choice quiz will keep health and safety in the forefronts of their minds and show them where their knowledge gaps are, while highlighting those gaps to you.
4. Access to Updated Information
One of the primary reasons for knowledge gaps in a business is poor information – despite everyone’s best efforts. For example, you might have noticed that key team members don’t receive or have access to information when they should do. This kind of gap can be filled with a reliable health and safety consultancy as it will serve to provide all essential information and updates on health and safety legislation and best working practices. Guaranteeing reliable information like this means you’ll close knowledge gaps throughout your organisation.
5. Encourage a culture of communication
Finally, encourage members of your workforce at all levels to speak up and ask questions. Creating the kind of environment where this is OK and actively encouraged will ensure that knowledge gaps don’t stay hidden in the dark. You could organise learning sessions where workers can come prepared with questions (without fear of repercussion for not knowing what they ‘ought’ to already know), or you could create an anonymised submission box or email service for workers to use if they want to raise knowledge gaps or ‘suggestions’ in a more private manner.
Implement these five tips and see if you notice a reduction in the number or severity of knowledge gaps in your business.
For any queries or questions regarding our health & safety services please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 01978 801856 or e-mail one of our health & safety consultants on email@example.com