Improve workplace safety induction and training

How to keep your new and existing workers safe through training.



How this helps your business

Investing in effective employee training will increase skills, knowledge, productivity, morale and help reduce workplace incidents.

A structured health, safety and wellbeing training program improves your reputation as an employer, making your workplace more attractive to your customers or clients, your current staff and job seekers. If employees think your workplace is safe, they are more likely to want to join your team and stay with you.

You also have a legal obligation to give training to your employees so they can perform their work safely and without risks to health.

Step 1: Review your training program

  • Look at the last 12 months of your OHS and wellbeing training – were the right people trained in the right things?
  • How did you decide who to train in what? It should be based on what risks you actually have in your workplace and which employees are likely to face them.
  • Have any of your policies or procedures been updated? If yes, did you update your training to match?
  • Ask your employees how they learn best. Options might be face-to-face training, reading, pictures, different languages, videos or online training.
  • How often do you train your employees? It should include when they first start (induction), when you have changed a policy or procedure, and regular refreshers.
  • Refresher training on some topics might be most useful at certain times. For example, schedule refresher training on "alcohol and other drugs" policy and procedures before end of year activities.
  • How well is the training program designed? Use surveys to see what worked or did not work for your employees.
  • Is your training program working? To find out, measure how your employees behave before training and then again after training.

Step 2: Recruit and induct new employees

An induction checklist helps you make sure that you have covered all the basics, so your new staff can keep themselves and others safe and healthy when they start work.

The following list can be modified to suit your workplace, if you do this now you'll be ready for when you next have a new starter.

All new workers should be given an induction when they first start the workplace.

  • Show employees how to safely use the equipment they need for their job.
  • Give employees any protective gear they need, such as gloves, safety footwear and goggles, and show them how to wear it properly.
  • Help new employees get to know the layout of the workplace.
  • Introduce them to their immediate supervisor, their health and safety representative and their workmates.
  • Explain OHS policies and procedures – including where to find forms, first aid and emergency evacuation procedures, and who to talk to if they have concerns.
  • Explain the roles and responsibilities for safety in the workplace.
  • Check back with the new worker in a week or so to make sure they are clear on the health and safety procedures, and encourage them to ask questions.

Step 3: Keep training records

Keeping records of who has been trained and when helps you keep everyone up to date. For some work, there are legal requirements to keep a record of the training you give employees. (For example, for high-risk work like tasks involving asbestos).

Step 4: Talk to your staff

It's important to know if your training program is actually helping to keep employees safe.

  • Ask training participants to fill in a quick survey on what they learnt from the training and suggestions for future sessions.
  • Watch what employees do before the training and then after the training. You might want to wait a few weeks or months to see if the new way of working continues.

Step 5: Support your leaders

Your leaders and supervisors may need additional training in OHS and wellbeing management so that they understand their responsibilities. They also may need training on how to model safe and healthy behaviour themselves and how to communicate the benefits of a safe and healthy workplace to their team.

Tips for managers and leaders

When training your leaders and managers about their role in health, wellbeing and safety in your organisation, consider encouraging them to:

  • lead by example and take responsibility for their own health, wellbeing and safety
  • talk with a different employee every day about health and safety in their job, and let people know they are available to discuss these issues
  • create a safe and positive culture where it’s okay to talk about issues, with zero tolerance to bullying and discrimination
  • understand and support policies and practices, and know what the next steps are in responding to information and incidents
  • know what their responsibilities are in managing risks in their work areas
  • include health, safety and wellbeing questions and support tips in daily briefings and make them as permanent agenda items in meetings

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Disclaimer: The WorkWell Toolkit provides general information only. Please consider your specific circumstances, needs and seek appropriate professional advice.