Education, education, education
23 January 2013
Training budgets on the whole may have been cut but there is still an appetite for health & safety training, provided it is accessible and offers value for money. HSM talks to the key organisations involved in health & safety training about what issues are currently driving the market
Caroline Holden director of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) â€œSeveral key factors are influencing the occupational health & safety training market at present.
â€œ Rising unemployment figures in the UK mean there are fewer people in the market ready to be trained. â€œThere is also evidence that training is an area some companies are neglecting because of the financial crisis.
â€œIOSH has undertaken research with Glasgow Caledonian University which identified that a company that invests in health & safety training is a third less likely to have accidents which shows a direct correlation between the investment in training and the outcome said training will produce.
â€œThere is also a political factor affecting the market at the moment. In particular Lord Young and the new coalition government and their views on potentially deregulating the health & safety industry could have an impact on the health & safety training market.
â€œThere are however still many areas of training that are in demand, particularly for organisations that are continuing to be successful in these current trading times. IOSH's Managing Safely course is a continued success as are its specific organisation and industry courses.
â€œIOSH will be launching a Training road show in September which will cover a variety of topics including understanding the need for health & safety training.â€ Find out more at: www.iosh.co.uk
Barry Holt, director of policy & research, The International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM) â€œHealth and safety training is obviously a key element in any management system, however in recent years we have seen changes in attitude which have seen organisations view provision of training as the first choice solution to any problem. Training has become commoditised and instead of viewing training as one possible option we have automatically bought a training package off the shelf. This, in itself introduces other issues.
â€œOff the shelf training may be appropriate in some cases but where a specific group of people or a specific topic is being addressed one size does not always fit all. However, in the present economic climate where budgets are under scrutiny, there will be pressure to take this option rather than pay for development.
â€œA further issue is the assessment of effectiveness. Training should produce behaviour change but how do we measure that?
â€œHowever, in spite of the economy, there is still a demand for both professional, competence based training and for wider training such as for topics such as DSE and manual handling, where there is an increasing trend for eLearning approaches. Also with corporate manslaughter on the agenda driver training is being seen as a high priority.
â€œOne area which has not received the attention it merits is training of safety professional in the skills needed to influence all levels within the organisation including senior management. www.iirsm.org
Steve Walter Senior HSC&E Adviser (EEF), the manufacturers' organisation:
â€œCurrently the most important issue in the training market is the way in which courses are being taught. Feedback we've received from the use of off-the-shelf packages has been very poor. We believe they usually have no lasting impact, and are a false economy. EEF offers specialist training courses designed around customers and their needs. This ensures that our customers gain specific skills, knowledge and confidence individual to them.
â€œCompanies are looking for demonstrable impacts from training, and in particular culture change, this has seen a rise in interest in Behavioural Safety and Environmental qualification courses. We now deliver an IEMA Diploma in Environmental Management to cater for this need.â€ www.eef.org.uk
BRITISH SAFETY COUNCIL
John Phillips head of product development at the British Safety Council:
â€œThe way in which people want to learn is changing. Distance learning and elearning are proving to be preferred formats for taking a course because they can prove more cost effective by allowing people to study from their place of work.
â€œConsequently the BSC has revamped all of its e-learning courses and will be launching them later in the year linked with a new e-learning platform. This platform means that e-learning will be supported by a whole new management scheme in which managers will be able to find out information such as who has participated in each course, what score they received and how long it took them to complete the course.
â€œIn terms of wider issues one of the British Safety Council's recent training priorities has been to broaden awareness of health & safety issues with a particular focus on improving the competency of middle managers and supervisors and rasing awareness among young people. â€œTwo of the ways we have addressed this have been by offering the NEBOSH and IOSH courses and delivering free level one training for young people.â€ www.britsafe.org
Frances Richardson, manager, external affairs, at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA):
â€œRoSPA is buoyed by the prospect of training innovations over the coming year. â€œIt's true that firms are having to manage their, often reduced, training budgets more creatively. The challenge facing training providers is to respond to this.
â€œI believe we're already meeting this challenge with our objective being to make our training even more accessible so firms can continue to protect their staff, and their bottom line, by investing in the prevention of accidents and ill health.
â€œOn an issue level, there will continue to be a focus on the responsibilities of directors and on workforce involvement. It's likely that developing an understanding of the value of audits/reviews will also be attractive for those seeking help in prioritising competing budgetary demands.
â€œIn terms of the current functioning of the market, we're particularly pleased to report that development continues, with new courses being introduced. RoSPA exclusively piloted the new NEBOSH Award in Health and Safety at Work (Level 2) last year. This introductory-level training, which is particularly useful for those with supervisory responsibilities, is now being rolled out as an open course.
Teresa Budworth, chief executive NEBOSH, The National Examining Board in Occupational Safety and Health
â€œRecent research by NEBOSH revealed that fewer than twothirds of working people in Britain have received basic health and safety training, such as a health and safety induction. However, studies have also shown that accidents rates can fall dramatically when more people understand and are involved in health & safety at work.
â€œAs a result, NEBOSH has introduced a new introductory level qualification --The NEBOSH Award in Health and Safety at Work. The course covers practical risk assessment and ways to control common workplace hazards. The award marks a new direction for NEBOSH, which has built a strong reputation worldwide through its indepth professional and management level health and safety qualifications.
â€œNEBOSH would like to see more people in work have a grasp of what health & safety is really about. Not only would this help to dispel some of the myths that are often pedalled about health & safety, but more importantly, we'd see fewer accidents at work.
â€œNEBOSH also recently launched its Certificate in the Management of Health and Well-being at Work, as well as an International Certificate in Construction Health and Safety.
â€œWe're responding to the key issues, where there's demand for knowledge. Health and well-being is high-up on the agenda. There should be a recognised and credible qualification to go with that. â€œWe've seen the same with our environmental qualifications. Over half of health & safety management roles now include responsibility for environmental issues.
â€œWe're introducing more qualifications at different levels, in more countries and to help tackle more issues. At the same time, demand for our traditional General Certificate and Diploma in Health and Safety remains high, despite the recent economic downturn.
â€œWhenever health and safety jobs are advertised, two-thirds of well-paid management positions stipulate 'NEBOSH' when it comes to required qualifications.â€