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Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) training

Statutory OSH training is required by law or deemed necessary through risk and/or organisational needs assessment. This is to ensure the safety, health and welfare of employees and others who may be affected by our work activities.

Statutory occupational safety and health training policy (PDF, 569 KB, 33 pages)

Training must be given to employees when:

  • starting employment with the HSE
  • transferring or changing tasks given to an employee
  • introducing new work equipment or systems
  • making changes to work equipment or systems
  • introducing new technology
  • to maintain competency

Health and Safety training courses

Contact the Health and Safety helpdesk for more information or advice

Manager responsibilities

As a manager, you must:

  • identify the training needs of your employees through training needs assessment
  • develop a health and safety training schedule based on the results of the training needs assessment and consider in your budgetary plan
  • arrange training within a reasonable timescale and ensure employees attend training
  • record training attendance and keep training records for each employee
  • check employees compliance with training

Employee responsibilities

As an employee, you must:

  • co-operate with your manager in the risk and training needs assessment
  • help identify training needed because of changes in working practices or equipment
  • identify health and safety training needs when completing your Personal Development Plan (PDP)
  • attend all statutory (necessary) training within required timescales
  • carry out work in line with training received
  • complete course evaluations as required

Training Needs Assessment (TNA)

A TNA helps managers identify what training their employees need to carry out their work safely.

Key steps for a successful training needs assessment

Step 1 – identify employee training needs by completing an OSH TNA. An OSH training toolkit has been developed to support managers complete the TNA process.

The toolkit provides signposting to OSH training programmes, identifies training requirements for particular staff categories (non–exhaustive list) and OSH TNA factors.

To support managers implement the toolkit a programme is available on HSeLanD. Log onto HSeLanD and search for ‘Using the Occupational Safety and Health Training Toolkit’.

This programme provides a step-by-step guide in the use of the toolkit.

Step 2 – delivery and coordination a blended learning approach is used by the HSE to allow for greater flexibility in delivery and coordination of training.

Step 3 – record keeping. In line with the policy training records for all employees must be maintained. The OSH Training Toolkit provides a template for recording the findings of the TNA.

Step 4 – monitoring. It is important for managers to ensure that the training and skills acquired are implemented in the workplace.

Step 5 – evaluation. Feedback from training participants ensures the quality improvement of the training.

For more information on these steps, refer to the statutory occupational safety and health training policy (PDF, 569 KB, 33 pages)

What to consider before booking the training

Before booking the training, you should find out if any member of staff needs extra support.

Extra support may be needed for staff who:

  • have accessibility issues
  • are hard of hearing
  • have a visual impairment
  • do not have English as their first language

When requesting training consider:

  • number of employees requiring training
  • any practical techniques, for example, manual handling, to be explained, demonstrated and practised
  • minimum and maximum attendance level
  • the size and layout of the training venue relevant to the number of attendees
  • the equipment being used should reflect that used by employees in their workplace
  • the training equipment has been fully serviced and is in full working order, for example, hoists and slings provided for use during manual handling training must be serviced every 6 months
  • the equipment to use during training is in good working order
  • any potential fitness to participate issues or specific learning requirements

Fitness to participate in training

A ‘fitness to participate issue’ is any condition which prevents an employee from carrying out their normal work duties and therefore their ability to participate in aspects of training. This must be indicated on the locally coordinated request form (no personal employee information is to be documented on this form). Employees will not be allowed to attend training if, on the day, they report a previously undeclared 'fitness to participate issue'. Where this happens, the manager must re-book the training.

Techniques the employee does not demonstrate on the day of training will be documented on the employee's training certificate and in the practical techniques record.

Fitness to participate process flowchart

Pregnant employees

Managers must ensure a pregnant employee risk assessment has been undertaken with the employee before they attend practical training.

The employee cannot attend training if they report to the instructor, on the day, a pregnancy which has not been risk assessed by the manager. The manager will need to re-book the training.

Pregnant employee risk assessment form

Pregnant employees - staying safe and healthy at work

Pregnancy assessment guidance note for managers

Booking training

The HSE uses a blended learning strategy. Training may be available through some routes, including:

  • e-learning
  • HSE developed courses on HSeLanD
  • externally developed/licensed courses accessed through HSeLanD
  • face-to-face training
  • external contractor (HSE contract or OGP framework)
  • internal HSE instructor
  • NHSF trainer/health and safety advisor
  • local training/health and safety officer

The process for accessing face-to-face training varies.

Some courses are funded and accessed through the NHSF helpdesk. Other training types (for example all other manual handling training) are organised by contacting the training contractor or the internal instructor. See Health and Safety training courses for information on specific courses.

Managers should book training using the locally coordinated training request form when not booking training through the Health and Safety helpdesk. This applies when booking training with external contractors or internal instructors.

See also: Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) training terms and conditions (PDF)

Funding for health and safety courses

Courses on HSeLanD are free to attend.

Courses funded by the National Health and Safety Function (subject to periodic review and change) include:

  • safety representative
  • first aid
  • manual handling instructor
  • managing aggression and violence instructor*

*This is a strictly limited budget and is allocated according to a defined prioritisation process. Local managers must ensure training needs are regularly assessed and local funding is sought as necessary for this training.

All other courses need to be funded locally, for example, manual handling.

Log health and safety training requests with the Health and Safety helpdesk

Refresher training

The frequency of refresher training varies from course-to-course (and risk-to-risk). You can find information about refresher training in training specifications, risk assessments, legislation and HSE policies, procedures, protocols and guidelines.

Managing training records

You must keep records of your employees' occupational health and safety training.

The records should show:

  • name of employee
  • personnel number
  • name of the training programme
  • date training attended

A copy of the attendance sheet with the employee's signature should be kept on file.

Elearning on HSeLanD training

  1. Sign in to your HSeLanD account
  2. Click on the course catalogue
  3. Click on the HSE National Health and Safety Function catalogue
  4. Click on the module you would like to enrol on

Contact HSeLanD support

Phone: 048 90 640445


Related documents

Statutory occupational safety and health training policy (PDF, 569 KB, 33 pages)

Fast Fact HSE Policy on Statutory Occupational Safety and Health Training FF:031:00

OSH training toolkit GD:020:00

Corporate Safety Statement 2023

Contact HSE Health and Safety helpdesk

Use the Health and Safety self-service portal or

Phone: 1800 420 420

Monday to Friday 10.30am to 12 noon and 2.00pm to 3.30pm