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.

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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