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Legal Impact of Training Mismanagement

23/10/2017

Legal Impact of Training Mismanagement

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Legal Impact of Training Mismanagement

The ability to implement an effective training management system can be stressful. For most organisations, the strive for employee training compliance can involve heavy paperwork and endless administrative time. These stressful activities can lead to errors and these errors can be costly more specifically from a legal perspective. We investigate a number of prosecutions that highlight the importance of implementing an effective training management system in the workplace.

In the first case, supermarket chain Aldi had relied on new delivery drivers shadowing existing drivers to work out how to use powered pallet trucks safely.  A driver had been working for Aldi for less than two weeks, and hadn’t used the particular model of pallet truck before.  Whilst he was preparing to move some pallets, he thought he had stopped the truck – but it carried on moving, crushing his foot.  He had two toes amputated, and the rest of his foot had to be pinned together.  Aldi were fined £1 million with £70,000 costs.  The prosecution were clear that Aldi should have had a standardised training programme to provide assurance that every driver would know how to operate every truck they might need to use, safely.

In the second prosecution a 29-year-old worker was filling gas cylinders from a high-pressure filling system. The cylinders were produced by a small company in Lancashire for sale to restaurants and pubs which use them for dispensing drinks.  A risk assessment of a task such as this would show that an essential control is to carry out comprehensive pre-fill cylinder checks, to make sure there is no fluid left in the cylinder and that there are no cracks in the cylinder walls. 

The HSE state that the worker had not received “adequate training or instruction” on how to do these checks.  Whether they had been shown on the job or not, the lessons had clearly not been learnt, and the employer could present no training records in its defence.  The outcome was an explosion, leading the young man to have one leg amputated below the knee.  The employer was fined £40,000, plus nearly £6,000 in costs.  For a small firm with total assets of less than £1 million, a significant sum to find.

Whether you represent a large organisation like Aldi, or a small one like the Lancashire gas cylinder firm, you need to have a training management system for identify training needs, delivering those needs and recording the delivery of that training.  The fault was not in using existing staff to train new staff – this can be an effective method, but the trainers must themselves be given some “train-the-trainer” support, and provided with a structure to follow.  Manual systems and spreadsheets to record this information can create an enormous headache for managers – training becomes out-of-date, or in the event of an accident, no one can find evidence that someone was trained. 

Making use of a software-based training management module reduces the time that needs to be spent managing the process, providing an auditable trail that training has been provided when it is required, with automated reminders where refresher training is due.  Another advantage of such training management software is being able to manage access to the records – so for example, a manager can check that a worker has had the appropriate training before allocating them to a new task.  Two men might still enjoy walking had their employers had a more robust training management process in place.

If you are experiencing problems implementing an effective training system and would like to know more about how our software can help you with training compliance, why not REQUEST A DEMO with one of our product experts today!

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