Health and safety basics course launched for SMEs

Members of the public learning on a training course

Do you know if your business is meeting its legal requirements for health and safety? According to St John Ambulance's research*, worryingly over 15% of businesses have never carried out an assessment to determine risks within the workplace and therefore how to protect staff.

The organisation has launched a new course aimed at helping small to medium sized businesses understand the basic processes involved in making their workplace legally compliant.

Prevent workplace accidents

In 2008/9 there were nearly 105,000 injuries which led to absence from work - around two fifths were caused by handling, lifting or carrying and nearly a quarter were due to tripping or slipping**.

In the last year there have been over 1100 cases of businesses being taken to court because of health and safety failings

Richard Evens
Training and Marketing Director, St John Ambulance

The organisation is encouraging SMEs to learn how to ensure good practice and prevent workplace accidents.

The new St John Ambulance Health and safety basics course is accredited by the British Safety Council and successful completion of the course results in a BSC certificate. The course is available across the country and covers:

  • Heath and safety legislation  
  • Overview of what a company needs to do to remain compliant 
  • Overview of risk assessments and basic procedures
  • Introduction to the language of health and safety
  • How to stay informed of latest changes.

Richard Evens, Training and Marketing Director at St John Ambulance says: 'In the last year there have been over 1100 cases of businesses being taken to court because of health and safety failings, resulting in 87% being convicted. The repercussions can be immense, not only in terms of the safety of their employees but also legally and financially.

'Health and safety is certainly not something that should be skimped on but we realise that smaller businesses can find it daunting when faced with the prospect of dealing with risk assessments, protocols and legal obligations without having the same resources as large companies. Our Health and safety basics course will help clear up any confusion and ensure employers become proficient in this area and understand how their business can comply.'

Julie Nerney, Chief Executive, British Safety Council (BSC) said: 'As a leading awarding body for health and safety qualifications, the BSC is delighted to be working with St John Ambulance to provide assessments for this brand new course.  All businesses, large and small, have a legal obligation to protect employees from accidents and illness at work.  The St John Ambulance Health and safety basics course teaches business owners and managers how to identify and implement the correct health and safety management systems for their business and to keep workers safe.'

  • *2,800 businesses were surveyed in September 2009
  • **Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)