Safety and wellbeing
Health & Safety
You have the same health and safety responsibilities to apprentices as to any other employee. All reasonable steps should be taken to ensure your apprentice is not harmed by the work they do or the environment they are working in. Foreseeable harm from hazards like excessive noise, electricity, dust, fumes, hazardous chemicals, machinery and so on, must be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable minimum.
Your apprentice must comply with the same duties your other employees have to you and to each other. They must work in a way that minimises risk to themselves and to others, follow instructions and training, report hazards, use safety equipment properly, and cooperate with you in helping you to meet your safety obligations.
During the apprenticeship programme the course assessor will carry out regular safety monitoring visits to ensure the safety management systems identified during the first appraisal visit are still being adhered to. These normally take place every six months as part of the progress review and are much less involved than the initial appraisal. Note that you will be informed well in advance of any health & safety monitors that are due.
Safety policies and risk assessments
If you employ less than five people then there is no requirement to have a written safety policy or to record the findings of risk assessments, although adequate safety precautions must still be in place. If you have five or more employees, you must have a written policy and documented risk assessments that cover all aspects of your work activities. If required XR Training’s safety team can assist you with preparing your policy, help with carrying out risk assessments, and advise on suitable safety precautions.
In most cases your existing risk assessments and safety precautions will be adequate for your apprentice, but because young people are more vulnerable than adults to certain hazards, if your apprentice is under the age of 18 you may need to take additional measures. XR Training’s safety team can advise on this if required.
Training and supervision
Apprentices are usually young and inexperienced, so ongoing training and supervision is needed throughout the duration of the programme until an apprentice is competent enough to carry out tasks on their own. For more complex and demanding work this may not be until their third or fourth year of training. During the first months of the programme your apprentice will be particularly susceptible to accidents/injuries as for many of them; this will be their first time experiencing a legitimate engineering environment. A thorough safety induction is absolutely vital to ensure the apprentice is aware of the dangers and potential hazards of their job.
The government and those influencing public policy are encouraging employers to take employee wellbeing seriously. That sounds good, and “wellbeing” is one of those words we hear a lot these days, but what does it actually mean in practice, in the workplace?
Wellbeing is essentially how someone feels about various aspects of their life – their home life, their health, their relationships with others, their job and other activities. It’s about whether they feel well and happy.
In the workplace, wellbeing used to be a question of health and safety at work, in other words limiting and addressing health and safety concerns related to injuries or health problems caused by the workplace.
These days wellbeing in the workplace is a much broader issue. In health terms, as well as directly work-related health and safety, it’s about improving the health levels of employees more generally. Employee wellbeing is about more than physiological or mental ill health – it’s about optimising the health of all employees, not just reducing the numbers of staff who are diagnosed with medical conditions. Employee wellbeing also extends beyond health, and into happiness as well, and job satisfaction.
But what factors can affect employee wellbeing? There are of course plenty of personal factors outside the employer’s control which can have an impact, such as family circumstances, home environment, personal attributes and characteristics.
But there are many factors affecting employees’ wellbeing which can be influenced by the employer. Many of these factors centre around the job itself – does the employee have a degree of control over their work, clarity about their responsibilities, variety of tasks, training and support? Do their working hours give them sufficient rest or flexibility?
Other factors controlled or influenced by the employer include the workplace environment, HR policies (including fairness and transparency over pay and promotion decisions) and relationships with colleagues.
People spend a large proportion of their life at work, and employers have the potential to have a significant impact on their employees’ wellbeing with the factors above, but actually employers can also influence the wellbeing of their employees outside those workplace-controlled factors as well. In forward-thinking workplaces, focusing on employee wellbeing involves initiatives to improve the health and happiness of employees even outside the workplace completely, such as schemes to increase the number of employees who cycle to work, or give up smoking.
It’s crucial to understand that a focus on employee wellbeing involves a holistic approach, taking into account the numerous factors shaping how employees feel at (and about) their work, and considering how as an employer you can influence these for the better.
We are dedicated to delivering education and learning programmes and services that will meet the needs of the people we train and the companies we support
XR Training Centre
|11 Village Farm Road, Village Farm Industrial Estate, Pyle, Bridgend, South Wales, CF33 6BL|