Delivering the right skills and training

Training is a means of helping employees and subcontractors learn how to safely undertake their work, informing them about what they should or should not do, and conveying important information. Whether you are an employer or self-employed, are you confident that you’re up to date with how to identify the hazards and control the risks from your work?

The Health and Safety at Work Act requires employers to provide information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure the health and safety of your employees.Where a person working under your control is self-employed for tax and national insurance purposes, they must be treated as your employee for health and safety purposes, and you will need to take appropriate action to protect them, including making training provision.

The implementation of an effective training programme will contribute to:

  • compliance with legal duties
  • the development of a positive health and safety culture
  • increased workforce competency
  • a reduction in accidents and incidents

When developing a training programme you should consider the training that your organisation needs, what your training priorities are, and the training methods and resources that you have available:

1 . Establish what training your organisation needs

  • Identify the skills and knowledge required for people to safely do their job, and compare these against the current skill set of your workforce to identify gaps
  • Review your accident and incident history – would training make a difference and if so what training
  • Look at the training identified as control factors in your risk assessments
  • Consider training for all levels of staff, from directors to administrative staff

2 . Decide your training priorities

  • Identify any specific training that may be required by law
  • Establish where a lack of training could result in the most harm
  • Consider what might benefit the largest number of staff
  • Include new starters, those who may be new to the working environment, those using new equipment and vulnerable groups
  • Consult with staff or their representatives for their input
  • Consider the impact of staff working patterns, and special arrangements that may need to be made

3 . Select your training methods and allocate resources

  • Consider whether the training needs to be outsourced or if it can be undertaken in house
  • Establish whether there is training available in the marketplace or if a more bespoke solution is required
  • Consider who can help you by providing information, materials and training courses e.g. trade associations, further education colleges or private training organisations
  • Review the different types of training available e.g. computer based, distance learning or on the job training
  • Consider the needs of your staff and whether they require additional support to complete their training
  • Investigate whether there is any funding or grants available to help you fund your training
  • Establish your budget, and create a training programme

4 . Following the implementation of a training programme it is important to evaluate its effectiveness:

  • Do staff now have the knowledge and skills necessary for them to work safely?
  • Has there been an improvement in health and safety performance?
  • What is the feedback from managers, and from the staff who have received the training?
  • Are there any further training requirements, and how often will the training need to be refreshed?
  • Were the most suitable training methods used, and can any improvements be made?


Everyone at work needs to know how to work safely and without risks to health. The provision of appropriate training enables workers to know about the hazards and risks they may face, the precautions to take (including any emergency procedures), and will help them to gain experience safely.


Robert Candy
Chief Executive
Scaffolding Association

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