Professional development in health and safety

Professional development is an integral part of any robust health and safety system. Training workers in health and safety has benefits for both the workers and the organisation.

Benefits of health and safety training

Health and safety training provides significant benefits to both management and the workers.

For management

For the worker

  • Improved health of workers
  • Reduced workplace accidents
  • Reduced sick leave
  • More engaged workers
  • Increased worker performance
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Better staff retention
  • Lower injury, illness and sick pay costs
  • A safe and healthy work environment
  • Reduced likelihood of accidents or injuries in the workplace
  • Improved health
  • Improved morale
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Improved sense of wellbeing

Recommendations for health and safety training for workers

Health and safety training must ensure workers can operate in the workplace in a safe manner. It should include:

  • the health and safety responsibilities of the board and early learning services and their workers
  • risk identification and management
  • incident recording and reporting, including near hits and misses
  • safe work procedures
  • safe use of all equipment relevant to the worker’s duties
  • safe use, storage and maintenance of personal protective equipment
  • safe use and storage of hazardous substances
  • role-specific training for those with health and safety responsibilities in the workplace, for example, HSRs
  • induction training covering health and safety
  • emergency procedures, including evacuation procedures and use of emergency equipment

Health and safety induction training for new staff

Induction training for new workers should:

  • include a full health and safety briefing on workplace hazards and safe working methods
  • identify and explain hazards they will be exposed to in the workplace as well as hazards they may create as they work
  • explain the person’s health and safety responsibilities and any reporting requirements for incidents and accidents
  • introduce the Health and Safety Representative, fire warden, and first aider, and explain any emergency and evacuation plans
  • show the location of first aid kits, Civil Defence kits, phones, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, emergency exits, emergency meeting points
  • explain any compulsory personal protective equipment and safety gear, and why it must be used.

WorkSafe have a short video which has been designed for use during an induction of new staff. It provides staff with a high level overview of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to health and safety. It will also help staff and management to better understand WorkSafe’s expectations about health and safety attitudes and behaviours.

WorkSafe induction video

Kia ora, welcome to your workplace, I'm Jay
Kia ora, I'm Elaine and we're both WorkSafe inspectors.
We want to make sure you and your workmates go home each day healthy and safe.
Workplace health and safety is about looking out for one another, and as inspectors,
we are here to support you as you contribute to a safer workplace.
You might think health and safety is a chore, but it's here to keep us all safe. And I want my mates to be safe.
Most people at work are healthy and safe most of the time.
But there are still too many accidents in our workplaces where people are hurt or even killed,
which could be prevented by doing some simple things.
So we're gonna take you through a few things you need to know before you start your new job.
It's your right to work in a healthy and safe environment.
That means you have the right to stop, or refuse to carry out work that is dangerous.
And if you see something that isn't safe you have a right to tell your boss or Health and Safety Representative.
You cannot get fired for reporting health and safety concerns.
To anyone starting a new job, you have as much right to speak up as anyone. We all have a right to speak up.
You have a responsibility to take care of your own health and safety which are both as important as each other.
What could have your health years down the track,
needs just as much attention as what could harm you now.
You also have a responsibility
to make sure that what you're doing is looking out for your workmate's health and safety and doesn't put them at risk.
So think of health and safety as caring for yourself and your workmates, even if the job takes five minutes.
It's also your responsibility to follow any reasonable workplace health and safety procedure as they're there to protect
you and the people around you, but you don't have to do that alone.
Your business must tell you what they are and how you're expected to manage them.
I always want my workmates to have my back, cos I've got theirs. If I'm not doing something safe, I want you to stop me.
Your employer has a responsibility to provide you with a healthy and safe environment.
That means safe tools and equipment, safe vehicles and machinery, and managing the risks of harmful substances.
Your employer must provide you with personal protective equipment when the work you do requires it. Things such as helmets and earmuffs,
overalls and face masks, unless you want to bring your own.
And again, your employer must provide you with health and safety information
and training, so that you know what the risks are and how to manage them.
I never want any of my workers to cut safety corners. If anyone around you or above you, asks that of you
I want you to feel empowered to stop, speak to a supervisor or WorkSafe. Your safety is most important.
You'll see WorkSafe inspectors around your workplace from time to time.
We're not just there to penalise you.
Know that we're there to listen to you and to help you.
Because we want to make sure you have a safe and healthy place to work.
If we do ask you to change the way you're doing something, it's because we want you to go home to your family safe and healthy
And if we ever do end up enforcing anything,
it's because someone is at risk.
So come have a chat and ask us any questions because WorkSafe is on your site for you.
So Nau Mai. Work as hard as you can to keep you and your workmates healthy and safe. And if you see anything unsafe..
Speak up. Speak up. Speak up. Speak up. Speak up. Speak up. Speak up.

Emergency procedure training

Training in emergency procedures should include:

  • types of emergencies that may occur, including fire, medical emergency, natural disasters, hazardous substances, violent confrontations or threats, and explosions (of boilers or gas bottles)
  • evacuation procedures, including emergency exits and assembly areas
  • location of emergency equipment, e.g. fire extinguishers
  • procedures for notification of emergency services at the earliest opportunity
  • first aid arrangements and the location of the first aid kit
  • how to safely shut down machinery, plant or equipment.

Tools and resources for schools and early learning services

Tool 22: Information and training checklist — Word version [DOCX, 18 KB]

Tool 23: Induction checklist — Word version [DOCX, 19 KB]

Tool 24: Worker’s health and safety training plan and record — Word version [DOCX, 16 KB].

External resources 

Additional information about professional development — NZSTA website(external link) 

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