Why Is Health and Safety Training Important?


A safe and healthy work environment isn't just a necessity – it's a legal requirement. In New Zealand, the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 2015 is a vital piece of legislation that aims to ensure the well-being of all employees in the workplace. This act emphasises the Health and Safety Training importance of creating safe work environments and highlights the critical role of health and safety training in achieving this goal. Let's explore why health and safety training is so important. 


Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 2015 

Before diving into the significance of health and safety training, it's essential to understand what the HSWA 2015 entails. This legislation is designed to improve workplace health and safety across New Zealand. It places duties on a wide range of individuals, including business owners, managers, workers, and others who influence work activities. The primary goal of this act is to reduce workplace harm and create safer, healthier workplaces.  


What Is Health and Safety Training? 

Health and safety training includes various educational and training activities aimed at helping workers understand how to perform their jobs safely. This training covers a wide range of topics, including: 

  • How to identify hazards: physical hazards like slips, trips, and falls; chemical hazards such as exposure to hazardous substances; biological hazards including bacteria and viruses; and psychosocial hazards like stress, and bullying.  
  • Teaches how to use equipment safely 
  • Steps and measures to take in case of an emergency. 

One crucial aspect of health and safety training is health and safety representative training. Health and safety representatives (HSRs) are workers elected to represent their colleagues on health and safety matters. They play a vital role in communicating between the workforce and management, ensuring that safety concerns are heard and addressed. 


Why Is Health and Safety Training Important? 

Compliance with Legal Requirements

One of the primary reasons health and safety training is essential is to comply with legal requirements. The HSWA 2015 mandates that businesses take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their workers. This includes providing adequate training to ensure that employees understand how to work safely and are aware of their rights and responsibilities under the act. 

Failure to comply with these legal requirements can result in tougher penalties, ranging from fines and legal action to business shutdowns in severe cases. By investing in comprehensive health and safety training, businesses can ensure they meet their legal obligations and avoid these potential consequences. 

Reducing Workplace Accidents and Injuries

New Zealand workplace injury data from 2014 to 2023 indicates a potential rise in the number of injuries requiring more than a week away from work. From June 2022 to May 2023 alone, an average of 3,453 such injuries were reported each month, totalling 34,887. 

Reference >> https://data.worksafe.govt.nz/graph/summary/injuries_week_away 

Health and safety training is crucial in reducing workplace accidents and injuries. When workers are well-trained, they are more likely to recognise hazards and take appropriate actions to avoid them. For example, training on the correct use of machinery can prevent accidents caused by improper handling.

Additionally, health and safety representative training equip HSRs with the knowledge and skills to identify risks and work with management to implement effective safety measures. This proactive approach helps to create a safer work environment, reducing the likelihood of accidents and injuries. 

Promoting a Safety Culture

A strong safety culture is essential for maintaining a safe workplace. Health and safety training plays a significant role in fostering this culture by raising awareness about the importance of safety and encouraging safe behaviours. 

When workers receive regular training, they become more conscious of safety issues and are more likely to take personal responsibility for their actions. When everyone prioritises safety, it creates a work environment where people feel comfortable looking out for one another, leading to a more positive and friendly atmosphere. 

Improving Employee Morale and Productivity

Employees who feel safe and valued are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and perform better. Health and safety training demonstrates that an employer is committed to their well-being, which can boost morale and job satisfaction. 

When workers know how to perform their tasks safely, they can work more confidently and efficiently. This increased confidence and efficiency can lead to higher productivity, benefiting both the employees and the organisation as a whole. 

 Reducing Costs

Workplace accidents and injuries can be costly for businesses. They can result in medical expenses, compensation claims, legal fees, and loss of productivity. By investing in health and safety training, businesses can significantly reduce these costs. 

Training helps prevent accidents, which means fewer injuries and associated costs. Moreover, having trained health and safety representatives ensures that potential hazards are identified and addressed before they result in costly incidents. 

Enhancing Reputation

A company's reputation is its asset. Businesses known for their commitment to health and safety are more likely to attract and retain customers, clients, and top talent. Health and safety training contributes to building a positive reputation by demonstrating that a company prioritises the well-being of its employees. 

Moreover, a strong safety record can be a competitive advantage, helping a business stand out in its industry. Clients and partners are more likely to trust and collaborate with companies that have a proven track record of maintaining safe work environments. 


The Role of Health and Safety Representatives 

Health and safety representative training is a crucial component of overall health and safety training. HSRs play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between workers and management, ensuring that safety concerns are effectively communicated and addressed.  


Responsibilities of Health and Safety Representatives 

HSWA outlines several critical responsibilities for HSRs, including: 

  • Representing workers by acting on behalf of them regarding health and safety issues. 
  • Entering and inspecting a workplace to ensure safety measures are in place. 
  • Suggesting improvements and solutions related to health and safety. 
  • Looking into complaints and identifying potential risks to worker health and safety. 
  • Keeping an eye on the health and safety measures implemented by the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU).  
  • Anyone who employs workers or manages a workplace is considered a PCBU. This could be a company, a partnership, a sole trader, or a government agency. 
  • Participating in safety committees, working alongside management to develop and implement safety policies and procedures. 

Benefits of Health and Safety Representative Training 

Providing comprehensive training for health and safety representatives offers numerous benefits, including: 

  • Training empowers HSRs with the knowledge and skills to effectively fulfil their roles. 
  • Well-trained HSRs facilitate better communication between workers and management, ensuring that safety concerns are promptly addressed. 
  • HSRs with proper training can identify and address hazards more effectively, leading to improved safety measures and a safer workplace. 
  • When workers see that their safety concerns are taken seriously, they are more likely to engage in safety initiatives and contribute to a safer work environment. 

Implementing Effective Health and Safety Training 

To maximise the benefits of health and safety training, businesses should consider the following best practices: 

Step: 1 Regular Training Sessions 

Health and safety training should be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Regular training sessions help ensure that workers stay up to date with the latest safety practices and are reminded of their responsibilities.  

Step: 2 Tailored Training Programs 

Different workplaces have different risks and hazards. Therefore, health and safety training programs should be tailored to address the specific needs of each workplace. Customised training ensures that workers receive relevant and practical information that applies to their unique work environment. 

Step: 3 Engaging and Interactive Training Methods 

Traditional lecture-style training can be less effective than interactive and engaging methods. Incorporating hands-on activities, simulations, and group discussions can help workers better understand and retain the information. 

Step: 4 Clear Communication 

Effective communication is key to successful health and safety training. Training materials should be clear and easy to understand, avoiding technical jargon that may confuse workers. Additionally, providing training in multiple languages can help ensure that all workers, regardless of their language proficiency, can benefit from the training. 

Step: 5 Continuous Improvement 

Health and safety training should be continuously evaluated and improved. Gathering feedback from workers and HSRs can help identify areas for improvement and ensure that the training remains effective and up to date. 

Step: 6 Involvement of Health and Safety Representatives 

Health and safety representatives should be actively involved in the training process. Their insights and experiences can provide valuable perspectives and help make the training more relevant and practical. 


ACT Now for Your Safety 

Our team of highly experienced trainers, with backgrounds in fire service, construction, manufacturing, and more, ensures you receive practical and engaging training. We are committed to your safety. We actively keep you updated with real-time data on health and safety and empower your workforce with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions and work safely, ultimately creating a zero-harm environment for everyone. And, as part of our ongoing commitment to safety, we also offer health and safety courses NZ, providing a comprehensive approach to workspace safety. 

Choose ACT Safety and join us in building a safer future.