IOSH is urging organisations to ensure line managers have access to OSH training after a new report revealed that one in five companies don’t train their line managers in health and safety.

A YouGov survey of nearly 700 company decision-makers found that despite 96% of respondents agreeing that line managers are important in keeping their teams safe, 19% don’t train them. A fifth (21%) said investigations into accidents had shown a management failure was a contributing factor.

The results, which are included in a new IOSH report, How to manage your people safely, also asked whether investing in externally-provided health and safety courses drove business benefits, with 82% saying it did. Of those, 39% said they had experienced a reduction in lost time because of accidents, 36% said their reputation within their supply chain had been enhanced, while 30% said they had recorded increased productivity because of fewer accidents.

Nearly half (46%) of all survey respondents who said they invest in externally-provided courses for managers said they had used IOSH’s Managing Safely, which is designed to provide all managers with the ability to apply the knowledge they gain in the workplace.

‘WITHOUT TRAINING, HOW DO THESE LINE MANAGERS KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY ASSESS IF SOMETHING COULD CAUSE AN ACCIDENT OR COULD HARM SOMEONE’S HEALTH?’

‘As with all risk, management is accountable for delivering a safe workforce and performance – first-line managers for ensuring controls are implemented and middle managers for providing the resources to deliver controls and the leadership for setting direction,’ commented Duncan Spencer, head of advice and practice at IOSH. ‘All need different health and safety competence for their role which needs underpinning with useful training they can apply in practice.’

He said the results suggest that the vast majority of businesses recognise that this is the case but said it is worrying that so many don’t train their line managers in health and safety. ‘Without this training, how do these line managers know how to properly assess if something could cause an accident or could harm someone’s health? How can they know what they need to do if there is a health and safety risk?’

Duncan went on to warn how crucial this is at the current time. ‘As businesses across sectors are reopening premises, they must manage an array of risks. They have to ensure their workplaces manage the threat of COVID-19 transmission while also continuing to provide measures to prevent all other hazards. Again, line managers are key here.