Who needs health and safety training?

It’s a question you probably keep asking yourself.

You might also be asking is health and safety training a legal requirement?

I’ve been in precisely the same position as you. It makes you feel uncomfortable not having a straight forward answer. Especially when you know that developing people support’s both health and safety practices and economic success.

And that’s why I’ve posted this blog to help you answer this question.

Firstly, everyone at work at some level will need health and safety training.

But it depends…

That’s right; it depends on your role and activities.

Let’s take for example a busy restaurant.

When you prepare the food as a chef you’ll be working with sharp knives, extreme heat and lots of manual handling.

But if you’re serving food, then its more about handling conflict and maybe less about manual handling than the chef.

So there will be some differences in the activities and the hazards and risks faced by each role.

The rule of thumb is if you work in a low-risk environment then you only need basic health and safety training.

Like having a basic health and safety induction to your office building so you know how to find the fire exit or seek out first aid assistance.

But the problem is you can feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of advertisements, training options and legislation all attacking your thought processes.

To be honest, I still find it overwhelming.

So here’s 3 simple steps to getting to the answer:

Step 1: Top 10 health and safety business risks

Write down your top 10 health and safety risks. Don’t worry at this stage; it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Grab a scrap piece of paper and find a quiet place.

This might actually take you a couple of days but keep that piece of paper and keep reflecting on any new risks.

Step 2: Understand your business

Next invite people you know who you’d be happy to get their views.

Grab people from operations, sales, marketing, HR, facilities and anyone who manages high-risk activities or large teams.

Ask them to bring along any risk assessments and procedures related to their work.

At this meeting show them your top 10 health and safety risks.

Do they agree with this list?

And then ask them if there’s anything that they worry about in terms of their own health and safety or the health and safety of other people, which might be missing from the list. This is where you explore and discover what people actually do in your business.

Then ask them to list all the current training they or their staff receive to manage these risks.

For example, you might find that your operatives have completed manual handling training to safely move materials around the warehouse.

If you work in retail your shop manager might have completed IOSH managing safely so he/she can risk assess and manage multiple risks.

You should now have a list of risks and any current training already delivered in the business.

Don’t worry if there’s no health and safety training happening – go to the next step.

Step 3: Narrow it down

Once you’ve got the list you can then narrow even further by thinking about these 3 points:

✅ Point 1. Does the activity happen a lot? For example lots of detailed work using computers and laptops etc

✅ Point 2. Is it inherently dangerous? For example working on electrical equipment, welding, working at height, handling cash or driving long distances? Remember to refer back to your meeting notes.

✅ Point 3. In your country, is health and safety training a legal requirement? To find the answer, you can visit your enforcement agencies website. Like here in the UK its the Health and Safety Executive. In most cases mandatory training like first aid and fire marshal training will be needed.

If you answered yes any of these questions then it’s very likely that you’ll need health and safety training.

Here’s a worked example:


So that’s how you answer the question to who needs health and safety training?

But don’t forget that training might mean sending people on certificated courses like IOSH Managing Safely and  IOSH Working Safely to help you understand how to effectively manage risks.

Managers, supervisors, and leaders who manage lots of activities will need some form of health and safety training to build up their competency. This might be you?

BONUS TIP: And if you still feel confused here’s what you should be aiming for when you summarise what health and safety training is needed. See worked example below for a business with 150 staff in a low-risk business.

Did that you help?

If you want help developing your own health and safety training needs let us review this with you by contacting us here 

Please leave me a comment below.

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