Don’t miss the train on training

trainingEach state’s OHS legislation provides guidelines relating to the training that should be delivered to employees.

If suitable training is not provided it leaves the organisation open to litigation, fines, low morale and bad public relations, as well as personal liability to the PCUBs for the provision of training.


To determine training needs it is necessary to:

  • Identify what the legislation in your state requires
  • Determine what standards are required in your organisation
  • Review job descriptions
  • Review tasks carried out by employees
  • Monitor and review employee’s qualifications and previous training
  • Research and review best practice in similar organisations
  • Undertake a gap analysis

 Part of your Safety Management System is to ensure records are kept of employee’s qualifications, training and experience in a register.  It is also important to regularly assess the employee’s current competence by conducting assessments to identify whether their skill set is still current and applicable to their position.  For instance they may need to receive a refresher course if there is a gap in their training.  A gap analysis determines the difference between the desired standard and the employee’s ability to perform at that level.  It enables an organisation to determine the training needed and the best method to impart this training.

 Training can be formal or informal, accredited or non-accredited, in-house or external, online or face to face and it requires a commitment of both time and money.  It might also require additional resources – that may mean extra shifts for some to cover absences or equipment made available for the purpose of training thus taking it away from operation.  Above all training needs to be appropriately targeted.

 Organisations do not always have all of the OHS expertise they require on staff.   If this is the case they can engage the services of an OHS specialist or technical advisor, just as they would a recruitment specialist, legal counsel or a taxation advisor on a consultancy basis.  This is a particularly effective strategy when the organisation requires assistance, information above and beyond the organisation’s normal requirement or even a second opinion.

 OHS specialists may have a greater understanding of current research, solutions, best practice procedures and factors to be considered when designing effective solutions.  Engaging an external OHS specialist will also free up your resources to work in other areas of business.

If you are considering an external resource such as a specialist or consultant, ask the following questions:

  • Do they possess the appropriate qualifications?
  • Is their experience relevant to your organisation’s needs?
  • Is their experience sufficient?
  • How do they keep up-to-date?
  • What work have they done on similar issues or for similar organisations?

It can be tempting for companies to try to deal with issues in-house only to find themselves using out-dated thinking with a lack of information or incorrect information.  This is a difficult situation, as it may be a case of people not knowing what they don’t know. 


About the Author

Joanne Wallace is our resident "Safety Guru". Joanne has provided advice on safety management for the past 10 years and written hundreds of articles on safety issues and tips. Joanne has experience in many industries ranging from manufacturing, food processing, timber milling, retail, office and wholesaling providing her with knowledge and experience managing risk and injuries in these industries.

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