Workplace health and safety training in your small business

How to create successful workplace health and safety training programs.



How this helps your business

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

A safe and healthy workplace is more attractive to your customers or clients, as well as 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.)

Step 1: Learn more on this topic

Corrigans Produce Farms won a 2016 WorkSafe award for training their employees, who come from a wide range of non-English speaking backgrounds. In this video Lisa Corrigan describes how they designed farm-specific systems and training programs for their diverse workforce to identify and assess safety risks on the farm.

Step 2: Make a plan

Everyone should be aware of the policies and procedures which have been developed for the workplace. Employees will need detailed knowledge of all the policies and procedures that relate to their work.

The following list gives you some ideas about how to start planning your training program.

  • What: Decide which policies and procedures your employees need to know about – talk to your staff to get their ideas.
  • Who: Work out who you need to train – is it everyone for some policies, or do you need more detailed training for people directly involved in the work? Again, your staff might have some good suggestions.
  • More who: Who is the best person to give the training? It might be yourself or a colleague, or you might need to get some support from outside your organisation.
  • How: Ask your employees how they learn best. Options might be face-to-face training, reading, pictures, different languages, videos or online training.
  • When: Plan when you train your staff – when they first start (induction), when you have changed a policy or procedure, and regular refreshers.
  • More when: Refresher training on some topics might be most useful at certain times. For example, refresher training on 'alcohol and other drugs' policy and procedures would be best scheduled before end-of-year activities.

Step 3: Free advice, tailored to your business

The OHS Essentials Program is a safety consultation service delivered by an independent occupational health and safety (OHS) consultant. The consultant will come to your workplace, help you identify hazards and give you a practical safety action plan. They also offer a follow-up service to see how you're tracking with the plan. You can ask them what training they think you need to give employees.

It's a great opportunity to learn more about your safety obligations and to get tailored advice on managing safety in your workplace.

The program is available to small businesses and sole traders with a WorkSafe Insurance Policy.

Step 4: Make a start

Making a plan is great, but you won't see any results until you get started. Get some feedback from your employees on whether the training is helpful for them in completing their work in a safe and healthy way – they might have some suggestions for improving the training.

More resources

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