Induction: Do you know what to do?

In Health and Safety, October 20223 MinutesBy Tracey MurphyNovember 5, 2022

The induction, often the first touch point in health and safety, sets the scene for your organisation’s culture. But it must be done correctly to be effective.

There are different types of induction: health and safety, site, client, familiarisation with plant and equipment and so on. Each of these must be covered with workers as required. An office worker will need much less information than a worker using heavy machinery, vehicles or moving from site to site. It might help to break the induction down into areas: health and safety, equipment, locations, customers, etc.

An induction is whatever training needs to be done for a worker to carry out a job healthily and safely. It helps if you combine some of it with your organisational requirements, so the job is also done well.

At the very least, workers should be given some level of understanding about health and safety to identify hazards and risks. They should know what to do in an accident/incident or emergency. You should also tell them about their rights and responsibilities as workers and how to participate in health and safety.

How should we deliver an induction?

If we give people too much information in one go, we will only overload them, so it is better to break it into appropriate bite-sized pieces. Use pictures and demonstrations as much as possible. Provide refresher training so the worker has a good chance of remembering the information; and so that you know they have understood it.

The important thing is to work at a pace that suits the worker. Do not hand out masses of documentation (hard or soft copy) and tell them to read it and sign to say they understand. That’s no different than agreeing to the terms and conditions of when you upgrade your smartphone.

Documenting induction and training is essential. A questionnaire is great, but the worker and trainer must sign off on any training.

When should you induct a worker?

Workers should be given a health and safety induction on their first day on the job. It’s a good idea for refresher training to take place two or three weeks later. Workers receive a lot of information in the first few days of work, and people only remember around 20% of what they are told.

Your induction sets the scene for your organisation’s culture. Take time with the induction – make sure the worker feels comfortable to ask questions, provide supervision and a buddy for as long as necessary, and create a safe and productive workplace.