Are employers legally obliged to arrange on-the-job health and safety training?

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 employers must provide such information, instruction, training and supervision as is reasonable and necessary to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all their workers. A failure to discharge that duty is a criminal offence for which the penalty, on summary conviction, is imprisonment for up to 12 months and/or a fine of an unlimited amount or, if a conviction is obtained on indictment, imprisonment for up to two years and/or a fine of an unlimited amount.

Regulation 13 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3242) contains a specific duty for employers to ensure that employees are provided with health and safety training:

  • on their being recruited to the organisation; and
  • on their being exposed to new or increased risks because of a change in their responsibilities or the introduction of new equipment, new technology or a new system of work.

Employers must provide health and safety training not only to full-time and part-time employees, but also to casual workers, temporary staff, trainees, freelancers and students on work placements.