IMAGE: Choosing who to provide safety training for in 6 steps


If you provide safety training for 20% of staff who are exposed to a particular risk, how do you decide who are the 80% who miss out?

Step 1. Identify and assess the safety hazard against likelihood and consequences in order to rate the severity of the risk.

Step 2. Applying the hierarchy of hazard control, eliminate or control the risk using prevention through design principles where possible.
Can people’s exposure to the hazard be prevented or limited through:
– Removal of the hazard (elimination)?
– Substitution of the hazard for a lesser hazard (substitution)?
– Changes in the design of equipment, environment, etc (engineering controls)?
– Changes in procedures (administrative controls)?

Step 3. Having implemented what you can in step 2, which staff (if any) are still exposed to the risk?

Step 4. Of the staff who are still exposed to the risk, ascertain who does not already have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to safely manage the risk?

Step 5. Identify training that will help to prevent or minimise exposure to the hazard. The training should also prepare staff to avoid or minimise harm being suffered in the event of exposure to the hazard.

Step 6. Decide which staff (from steps 3 and 4) should receive the training, when and how often.


Step 6 raises some interesting questions.

    Which staff?

Let’s say you are in the process of buying new work cars. The basic model car does not come with any airbags. You know airbags make a big difference in a car crash. Even though it costs extra for the airbags, would you only buy airbags for 20% of the cars?

If you are planning on providing safety training to a portion of your staff who are exposed to the same risk, what selection criteria will you use to select who will be given the safety training and who won’t?

Providing the safety training to all staff who are exposed to the risk will deliver immediate benefits. Not only will safety improve, it will send a clear message to all staff that they are valued.


You are exposed to the risk right now. People may be harmed next week, tomorrow, or even today.

The sooner the training occurs, the sooner your staff will be safer, and the sooner your staff, the people they support, your organisation, and you will benefit.

    How often?

How perishable are the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are being developed by the training?

The more perishable they are, the more frequent the training should occur.



At what point will you be able to say that the safety measures in your workplace for this risk are safe enough?

Think about the consequences if the requisite safety measures (be it elimination, substitution, engineering or administrative controls) are not in place for a particular staff member in their moment of need. What will it mean for you professionally (and personally)?

It would probably not be deemed reasonably practicable for you to have trained all the staff exposed to the risk by the end of this week.

However if you have not done so within say 3 to 6 months, and a serious incident occurs, then you and your organisation may be held liable for failing to meet your duty of care.

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Travis Holland

Travis Holland
Managing Director
Holland Thomas
Travis Holland email address

Should you wish to discuss strategies to improve your staff’s safety in their work environment, please feel welcome to contact Holland Thomas.

Passionate about creating safer workplaces our goal is to enhance wellbeing for all concerned whilst also delivering improved operational and financial performance.

This blog draws on our years of experience delivering our M.A.B.™ Staff Safety Training (Contextualised Prevention and Management of Aggressive Behaviours) across Australia and the development of My Safety Buddy, our smartphone app and web portal based lone worker safety solution.

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