health and safety training records

Case shows importance of keeping health and safety training records

A recent court case demonstrates how the availability of thorough health and safety training records can reduce the likelihood of a prosecution after an accident.

What happened in the case?

The case in question involved an unsafe lifting operation which led to an apprentice electrician falling four metres from a wooden crate balanced on a forklift truck.

The apprentice suffered a punctured lung and several broken ribs. The driver of the forklift truck was a more senior colleague (‘Y’) who had been put in charge on the site.

‘Y’ was prosecuted under Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974. He pleaded guilty and was fined £2,000 with £560 in costs.

The employer in this case was not prosecuted because a risk assessment had been completed and suitable equipment to carry out the task was purchased. The court heard that ‘Y’ failed to use this equipment in spite of their training and knowledge.

What are the lessons for employers?

Where a company has carried out a risk assessment, developed safe systems of working, provided the correct tools for the job, and trained staff correctly, the risk of an incident occurring is reduced.

Not only that but it will make defending any court case more straightforward. The important thing is to make sure that these sensible steps are recorded and available if needed.