Free Training Course: The Human Factors Involved in H&S at Work

There are many considerations to take into account when looking at Health and Safety at work, from checking equipment to providing appropriate visitor passes to contractors. However, once such policies and procedures are in place it can be easy to forget that the people working within an organisation are the key to maintaining a healthy and safe workplace for everybody. Making sure that staff are properly trained, taking into account their concentration levels and skill specialities are all important issues to consider to minimise the chance of accidents and injuries at work.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have named these the Human Factors, which they explain as:

"Human factors refer to environmental, organisational and job factors, and human and individual characteristics, which influence behaviour at work in a way which can affect health and safety"

The HSE provides downloadable briefing sheets on their website, explaining all the different 'key topics' which need to be taken into consideration when looking at the Human Factors of health and safety.

The HSE summarise the issues surrounding Human Factors in health and safety as being,

“[...] concerned with what people are being asked to do (the task and its characteristics), who is doing it (the individual and their competence) and where they are working (the organisation and its attributes), all of which are influenced by the wider societal concern, both local and national”.

The energy industry is one whose performance can be particularly impacted by human factors. This is a concern which has been taken up by The Energy Institute, also known as EI, which is the professional organisation for energy companies in the UK. The organisation's aim is to promote environmentally responsible and efficient energy supplies and usage through its provision of services to members, both individual and organisational.

The EI is now offering a free online training course, the Human Factors Awareness Course. This training is based on the information provided by the Health and Safety Executive about Human Factors and is aimed at people who are not specialists in the area, but who instead would benefit from learning more about this aspect of health and safety.

The EI's free course contains 11 modules:

1. Introduction to human factors;

2. Training and competence;

3. Managing human failure;

4. Procedures;

5. Staffing arrangements and workload;

6. Organisational change;

7. Fatigue;

8. Maintenance;

9. Human factors in design;

10. Communication, and

11. Safety culture.

Each of these modules covers key information which can help employers, HR staff and employees to maximise safety at work by reducing any potential risks which could result from factors such as workers' fatigue, lack of training, poor communication or workload imbalances, for instance.

The course will teach its students to recognise and understand the issues involved as well as how to handle them effectively, with appropriate approaches and solutions. It is predominantly focused on Human Factors in the energy industry, but it is free for anybody to enrol. If you are interested, you can find out more and sign up for the course here.

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