Friday, February 01, 2008

Training doesn’t take the strain

“Training” is the holy grail of health & safety. Many managers (and practically all consultants) stock response to any safety issue or concern is to propose sending workers on a “training course”. While training is usually really important in ensuring that there is an effective safety management system in an organisation, it is not the answer to all risks.

For example there is an excellent press release from the TUC today on research from the British Medical Journal that just training employees on the correct way to lift heavy weights doesn’t necessary result in fewer injuries. Rather you should be concentrating on reducing the weight of things that need to be lifted manually. I know that trade union Unite are campaigning to cut the maximum weight of baggage to 23k from current limit of 32K (see photo with Labour Minister Paul Goggins).

Equally it is useless just to send front line housing staff to “dealing with aggressive clients” courses when you don’t have a proper system in place of identifying and assessing potential violent clients. Instead you must make sure that workers are not simply sent out to make lone visits to residents unaware that they are potentially violent.

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