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Health and Safety: Statutory and Mandatory training

1 March 2006

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Wendy Garcarz
MA DipEd DipTM
Train 4 Health
E [email protected]

Wendy is Sales Director of Train 4 Health, a Statutory & Mandatory e-learning and testing system designed specifically for the NHS and social care. She is an organisational development specialist and architect of learning organisations and has authored several books and publications, including:

  • Make Your Healthcare Organisation a Learning Organisation. Oxford: Radcliffe Medical Press; 2003.
  • Statutory & Mandatory Training in Health & Social Care. Oxford: Radcliffe Medical Press; 2005.

For further details visit:

The Statutory requirement refers to the legal responsibility of every employer to ensure their staff have the knowledge to maintain a healthy and safe working environment for themselves and their colleagues as laid down in the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The Act stipulates that an employer must:

  • Provide such information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure that employees are able to carry out their jobs safely.
  • Prepare and keep up to date a written safety policy supported by information on the organisation and arrangements for carrying out the policy.
  • Ensure the safety policy is brought to the notice of employees.

The Act also stipulates an employee’s responsibilities are to:

  • Take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected.
  • Cooperate with their employer on Health & Safety.

In addition, all buildings that deliver NHS services are likely to require a fire certificate due to the nature of their business. These premises need to ensure they comply with fire regulations stipulating:

  • Your staff are an important part of your fire safety procedures. You need to instruct and train them so that they understand the fire precautions and the actions to be taken in the event of fire.
  • You must keep a logbook on the premises to record the details of tests and checks of fire safety arrangements. You also need to record to whom and when fire training has been given.

Custom and practice in the NHS has interpreted this as:

  • Core Health & Safety training for all new employees to an organisation covering Health & Safety policy, COSHH, RIDDOR, Fire Safety, Manual Handling and Basic Risk Assessment, with annual updates given in essential areas of Fire Safety and Manual Handling.

In addition, there are a number of requirements set out by professional bodies stipulating Mandatory training requirements linked to professional registration. An example is the need for nurses to have annual updates for CPR and manual hand­ling training. Practice nurses involved in vaccination or immunisation programmes should also receive anaphylaxis training with an annual flu vaccine update.

Defining Statutory & Mandatory training for health and social care organisations is not an easy process due to the fragmented nature of the legislation and the lack of detailed guidance from the Department of Health and NHS. It is good practice for any employer to establish some baselines and practice standards to help define the rules and responsibilities that govern independent businesses, particularly those contracting for public service provision. It is also an organisational safeguard that may help to reduce their risk of legal challenge.