The Safer Choice

Health and safety training

Students learn more when they work things out for themselves, so I take an active approach to learning. This section describes some of the training areas I’m involved in, from off-the-shelf IOSH courses to tailored support for screen-based, virtual and VR training.

Safety and health training has to tackle attitude, as well as knowledge, so engaging in a course makes it more likely the training will be put into practice.

Have a browse through the training topics below, and get in touch if you’d like to tailor some training to your needs

I am an IOSH approved trainer, and have delivered both courses for students in facilities, maintenance, office work, construction, education and grounds maintenance.  I have worked under the license of other clients, but if you need these courses and don’t have a license I work with Stepping Stones for Business to provide the training.

I supplement the IOSH training material with my own exercises and case studies, making use of training methods that have been proven to work, and using examples relevant to the audience to drive the messages home.

IOSH Working Safely is a one-day face-to-face course, but can also be run as a virtual course, ideally as two half-day sessions.

IOSH Managing Safely used to be a four-day course, but has been cut to three days. I can run it in three days, but I offer a discount on a fourth day of training if you want to add some tailored material to the course. This can also be run as a virtual course, and I recommend 4 or 5 shorter days, rather than 3 or 4 long classroom days.

I have a BTEC Level 3 award in Manual Handling Training, and have provided manual handling training to IT staff, facilities staff, maintenance technicians and office workers.  I am also a “resting” yoga teacher, having taught from 1998 until The Safer Choice became too busy in 2013. This gives my manual handling training an extra depth, as I’ve worked with lots of students over that time to understand their aches and pains.

I can produce an off-the-shelf basic manual handling course, but I prefer to tailor something around what you do in your work place, and include the delivery of some manual handling risk assessments as an output of the training.  The aim of my training would be that your staff can not only lift, carry, push or pull more safely, but that they know how to risk assess and modify new handling tasks to make them safe.

I love training (yes, literally) but for routine training, I’d rather train your staff to deliver it than keep coming into your workplace to remind people to apply the hand brake, wash their hands or wear a seat belt. Here’s an example of a previous project:

An important part of risk management is making sure people know what to do – there are plenty of examples of prosecutions of organisations that thought it was obvious to put the hand brake on, not to work at height on your own, or not to climb on fragile roofs. Where organisations can’t demonstrate that they provide regular training and instruction, they are often convicted. But you don’t need a Chartered Health and Safety Professional to come in once and year and remind people of straight forward controls. So, given a list of topics that a facilities team needed regular training on, I worked with the staff for several weeks, taking photographs of the work they do, the tools they use and the places they work. I compiled these into short picture-based training sessions. I wrote a script for the supervisor, based on asking questions to the other staff rather than telling them what to do, and then trained them to deliver the talks to their teams. The content is delivered using a paper-based easel, so people can be instructed anywhere, any time.

Outcome: Supervisors have become more confident in delivering short training sessions to remind staff of basic safety controls – and the organisation can demonstrate they have met their duty to instruct, inform and train.

Supervisor trained to deliver routine health and safety training
Supervisor trained to deliver routine health and safety training

Do your risk assessments rely on training to keep people safe?  How do know whether people have the right training?  I can help you to assess your training needs and put together a programme of training specific to your training needs.  This might include tailored courses delivered by me or delivered by your staff, recommendations of e-learning courses, or where I think someone else can do it better, recommendations of specialist trainers to use.

I bring together my hands-on health and safety experience, my classroom training, and my skills in researching topics to work as a subject-matter expert (SME) for e-learning courses. As a psychologist I can consider how people learn and retain information. I draw from my early career as a human factors advisor with a technology role to advise on instructional design.

If you want a really long read, get in touch with me to ask for a copy of my Masters Dissertation “Do users of a DSE e-learning program adopt a better posture after training?’

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a lot of organisations turning to e-learning. E-learning is a cost-effective way to deliver some training (I have developed e-learning content for clients afterall). But while it’s good for gaining knowledge, it is less effective for deep learning. When students need to understand ideas, discuss viewpoints, and challenge ways of working, the engagement of peers and a skilled tutor is essential. 

I have used Zoom and Teams to deliver virtual classoom training for clients, but I’m happy to adapt to other environments if needed. I understand the limitations and benefits of the virtual classroom, and use the benefits to engage students, to over come some of the limitations. Most courses can be adapted to virtual classroom training. The size of class will vary on the content – manual handling would need to done in small groups of two or three, while IOSH Working Safely courses can be up to 12 people.

See articles I have written on virtual training at Make UK and IOSH Magazine

I have provided content scripts for virtual reality (VR) health and safety training, and reviewed existing content for VR developers. I have an Oculus Quest available for reviews. With COVID-19 restrictions I’m not currently using VR in face-to-face training, but long term I hope it will be an option to incorporate VR training in classroom or on-the-job training.

I’ve written these articles on training and learning:

  • Back on course. How training providers have adapted essential health and safety training to cope with social distancing (written with Louis Wustemann).
  • The Right Fit. An article on how different learning tools can be blended to create a great learning experience, from traditional classroom, to new experiences with virtual reality.
  • Virtually perfect. How do the outcomes of training using virtual reality stack up against conventional, real-world training?
  • A step up.  A review of options for training to reach graduate membership of IOSH and equivalent organisations.
  • Manual handling training: the evidence for, and against. Is there any evidence that manual handling training is worth the time and money, and how can it be improved?
  • Learning and forgetting. The problem of skill decay, and suggestions of how to overcome it.
  • Learning in style. The myths and dangers of learning style theories.
  • A PowerPoint well made. Some tips on how to make better use of PowerPoint as a health and safety training aid.
  • Letters of distinction. Rote learning is not the ultimate goal of health and safety education. But there are times when an aide-memoire can prompt a sequence that helps us to focus a risk assessment or audit –  or even to pass an exam! This article explains how mnemonics work, and explains how I created a new one.
  • What is competence? An article from a series on concepts in health and safety which considers definitions of competence.