How to perform awareness training in ISO 45001

In ISO 45001, as with all management system standards, it is critical to ensure that your employees are trained and aware of what they need to do to support the management system. In our previous article on The importance of awareness training in ISO 45001, we discuss what needs to be done to document that your training was completed, and how you can use this as a way to drive your Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) management system, employee feedback, and continual improvement. Here, I will look at two more aspects of awareness training: how to train and what to train.

How do you do your awareness training; what is the best method?

There is really no one answer to the question of the best method of training. It is generally true that more people learn by doing something than by watching someone else do it; and both of these are generally better than reading about how to do something or listening to a discussion. With that being said, you will probably have to use many different methods to deliver the OH&S information that your employees need to know, and many different methods to record that knowledge.

For instance, if you are training your employees on the OH&S Policy, then having them read the policy and answer some questions to show that they understood it might be enough training. However, if you are training employees on how to do a job with significant health & safety hazards, then more will need to be done to ensure that they understand the hazard and how to avoid it. This could come in the form of training and testing before starting the job, on-the-job training with a knowledgeable employee who already understands the job, or even off-site training and testing before starting the job (such as fork lift operator training). You will need to match the type of training with the level of knowledge required by the employee and the risk associated with the hazards of the job they will be performing.

What OH&S management system awareness training is needed?

In essence, you need to provide the awareness training necessary for an employee to safely perform the tasks that are required to do the assigned job, and you must define this training for each job in your company. For further clarification, there are six main areas of awareness training that ISO 45001 defines in section 7.3 of the standard, which are:

  1. What the OH&S policy and objectives are that affect their job. This means knowing what they do that affects the ability of the company to meet the policy and objectives.
  2. Their contribution to the OH&S management system. Employees must know their policies and procedures for OH&S and understand how following these requirements keeps them safe. This also includes the benefits of an improved OH&S performance in the workplace.
  3. Potential consequences of departing from procedures and not conforming to the OH&S management system requirements: It is not enough that employees know that a procedure exists, but they need to know what will happen if it is not followed. Compliance with a procedure will then make sense to the employee.
  4. Relevant past incidents: If an incident occurred that could affect how the employee does their job, it is expected that they will understand what happened and the outcomes of the investigation.
  5. OH&S hazards and risks relevant to their jobs: This is where you need to make employees knowledgeable of the hazards and risks associated with their jobs and how their behavior impacts these hazards and risks. Employees must know what they must do in their jobs when it comes to health & safety. Not knowing the risks is one of the greatest problems, and is how tragedy occurs.
  6. The ability to remove themselves from unsafe situations: Employees must know that it is acceptable to stop working when it is not safe to do so. If their health & safety is in imminent danger they need to understand how they can stop and have this corrected.

Important considerations in awareness training

When presenting training, it is important to remember that you need to make sure people understand what is being presented. To do this, you need to take into account the abilities, languages, skills, and literacy levels of your training audience. If the majority of your employees speak Spanish, then presenting all your training in English might be a bad idea.

Lastly, you need to tailor your training to the risk presented by employees not understanding the training. If it is critical that an employee knows certain information to remain safe on the job, then it is up to you to make sure that they have understood what is taught. One main reason for implementing an OH&S Management System is to control the risks in your processes, and using your training properly to support this goal is what it is all about.

Why not check out our free Gap Analysis Tool to find out what you still need for your OH&S management system?

Advisera Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar is a Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence through the American Society for Quality and has been a Quality Professional since 1994. Mark has experience in auditing, improving processes, and writing procedures for Quality, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems, and is certified as a Lead Auditor for ISO 9001, AS9100, and ISO 14001.