This is one of the questions we are asked most often and we're afraid there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. Almost all health & safety legislation deliberately leaves decisions such as this to the employer - quite rightly in our view as there are millions of unknown variables within each workplace and even each employee. The HSE generally only gets involved when there’s an incident, so they would decide as part of any investigation both if the training was adequate and offered frequently enough.
We have thousands of clients including police forces, local authorities and large national companies and they refresh training annually; certainly, we recommend Fire Safety Training, Manual Handling and DSE Training is repeated every 12 months. Our online clients can actually choose to set reminders for staff to retrain within our LMS and currently over 95% select the 12-month option, and we believe that generally, that’s the best approach.
Some legislation such as the Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005 and The Health & Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 refers to the need for training to be carried out when employees join and then ‘repeated periodically and when circumstances change’.
And interestingly to achieve the British Standards Kite Mark (BS 9999, fire safety of buildings) training MUST be offered at LEAST once a year.
The EAT case that highlights the need for frequent, high-quality training
In February 2021, the Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled on a case that serves as a valuable reminder to employers on the importance of regular and high-quality training, particularly when defending claims of discrimination and harassment.
In this particular case, an employee with just under 1 year’s service, was dismissed by his employer due to poor performance. After their dismissal, the employee alleged that they had been subjected to racial harassment by a colleague and brought a claim for racial discrimination against the company. Their former employers argued that they had taken all reasonable steps to prevent this from happening as they had arranged for employees to receive equality and diversity training 2 years earlier. However, the tribunal found that they were liable for this behaviour as the training had taken place some time ago and was, therefore ‘stale’. They could not be said to have taken 'all reasonable steps’ as a reasonable step would have been to carry out the training more regularly. The employer appealed, but on 4 February the Employment Appeals Tribunal rejected their appeal and upheld the tribunal’s decision.
“brief and superficial training is unlikely to have a substantial effect in preventing harassment. Such training is also unlikely to have long-lasting consequences. Thorough and forcefully presented training is more likely to be effective, and to last longer."
So there are clear arguments for refreshing training MORE frequently than annually. Many companies take our HR Compliance Courses; Stress Awareness & Mental Health Awareness Training sporadically throughout the year if they are under more strain than usual. Others use our excellent free additional resources (such as posters or PDFs) to remind staff of the key information on an almost daily basis.
Ultimately iHASCO training is a quick, effective and low cost, making the ‘better safe than sorry’ approach an easy choice.
We offer a vast range of Health & Safety Training courses that both help you work towards compliance with current legislation and ensure safer, more resilient and more productive staff.
Interested? Why not get started with a free, no-obligation trial today!