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In any workplace, prioritising the health and safety of employees is paramount. It's not only a legal obligation but also a moral imperative for employers. One of the most effective strategies to achieve this goal is through comprehensive health and safety training and education programs. Prioritising the health and safety of employees not only ensures legal compliance but also fosters a positive work environment and enhances productivity.

Comprehensive health and safety training and education programs play a crucial role in achieving this goal. They empower employees with the knowledge and skills necessary to identify and mitigate risks, respond effectively to emergencies, and promote a culture of safety within the organisation.

In South Africa, Occupational Health and Safety training is governed predominantly by the aging, Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) No. 85 of 1993. In particular, Sections 8 and 13 of the pre-constitution OHSA require that the employer provide Health and Safety training to their employees, to ensure they are familiar with the dangers, hazards, and risks in their workplaces.

To quote:


Section 8 General duties of employers to their employees: 

  1. (1) Every employer shall provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of his employees.

  2. (2) Without derogating from the generality of an employer’s duties under subsection (1), the matters to which those duties refer include in particular:

  3. (2) (d) establishing, as far as is reasonably practicable, what hazards to the health or safety of persons are attached to any work which is performed, any article or substance which is produced, processed, used, handled, stored, or transported and any plant or machinery which is used in his business, and he shall, as far as is reasonably practicable, further establish what precautionary measures should be taken with respect to such work, article, substance, plant or machinery in order to protect the health and safety of persons, and he shall provide the necessary means to apply such precautionary measures;

  4. (2) (e) providing such information, instructions, training, and supervision as may be necessary to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the Health and Safety at work of his employees.


It is important to note the OHSA generally does not dictate WHO MAY facilitate training, but merely THAT IT MUST be presented. It can confidently be presumed that either the employer, a delegated employee, an agent, or a service provider may present the training on behalf of the employer.


Health and safety training equips workers with the essential knowledge and skills necessary to perform their duties safely and effectively. It covers a wide range of topics, including Health and Safety (SHE) representatives, first aid, fire fighting, hazard identification, risk assessment, emergency procedures, personal protective equipment, and the safe use of machinery and equipment where necessary. Moreover, training can address industry-specific risks, such as handling hazardous chemicals, and safety working with sharp objects.

The benefits of such training are multifold. First and foremost, it significantly improves workplace safety. Properly trained employees are better equipped to identify and mitigate risks, thereby reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. This not only safeguards the well-being of workers and public citizens but also ensures compliance with health and safety legislation, avoiding potential fines and legal repercussions.

Health and safety training fosters a culture of safety within the organisation. When employees are actively engaged in identifying and addressing risks, it creates an environment where safety is prioritised by everyone. This, in turn, leads to enhanced morale, job satisfaction, and productivity among employees.

Reducing absenteeism and turnover is another significant advantage of investing in health and safety training. Workplace injuries not only result in lost time and productivity but also increase employee turnover due to dissatisfaction or fear of further accidents. By mitigating risks through training, employers can minimise these issues, leading to a more stable and efficient workforce.

Furthermore, safety training contributes to the overall well-being of employees. When workers feel safe and supported, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and satisfied with their jobs. This sense of security is vital for creating a positive work environment conducive to success.


Compliance with regulations is also a crucial aspect of health and safety training. By ensuring that employees are aware of workplace hazards and trained to handle them properly, organisations can avoid fines and penalties associated with non-compliance. This not only protects the company financially but also upholds its reputation as a responsible employer.

Investing in safety training is a proactive approach that brings numerous benefits to both individuals and organisations alike. Courses like the Working Safely program empower employees to identify and address hazards, promote a safety-conscious mindset, and contribute to a positive safety culture. By prioritising safety, employers demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being, regulatory compliance, and risk reduction.

In conclusion, health and safety training is not just a box to tick; it's a vital investment in the success and sustainability of any organisation. By equipping employees with the knowledge and skills to work safely, employers create a culture of safety that enhances productivity, reduces costs, and safeguards the well-being of their most valuable asset—their workforce.


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