Identify tasks relating to health and safety that should not be carried out without special training

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

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Specialised training may be required to carry out certain tasks safely in the workplace.

Under no circumstances should an employee attempt to perform such tasks without the required training and authorisation. Doing so could put themselves and others at risk and could lead to disciplinary action or prosecution.

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees receive sufficient training to perform tasks related to their role. Similarly, it is the employee’s responsibility to only carry out such tasks if they believe they have received adequate training and feel that they are competent to perform them.

Employers should also ensure that employee training is up-to-date and provide refreshers where needed – this is especially important when there are changes in legislation, regulation or best practice.

Some tasks relating to health and safety that should not be undertaken without the correct training can include:

  • Administering medication – if medication is administered incorrectly, then it could result in harm to the recipient.
  • Performing healthcare tasks – for example, taking physiological measurements, such as blood pressure. Without proper training, there could be errors in the data gathered.
  • Using specialised equipment (e.g. hoists and lifts, wheelchairs etc.) – inadequate training could increase risk due to the incorrect selection of equipment (not using the right equipment for the task) or incorrect use of the equipment (e.g. not following correct procedures)
  • Moving and handling – incorrect lifting technique or improper preliminary planning could result in injury
  • Transferring and repositioning – by not following correct procedures or using equipment incorrectly, the transition of individuals could result in injuries
  • First aid – first aid procedures should only be performed by employees that have received first-aid training or it could result in injuries being caused inadvertently. For example, performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) incorrectly could damage an individual’s rib cage or attempting to move an individual that has injured their neck or spine could result in worsening the injury. In a life-or-death scenario, employees may be instructed to perform first-aid procedures over the phone and in these cases they should follow the instructions.
  • Food handling/preparation – preparing or handling food without sufficient training in food hygiene could result in an individual becoming ill (e.g. food poisoning).

It is important that you understand the scope of your role in relation to health and safety and challenge your employer if they ask you to do something that you do not believe you have received adequate training for. You should also speak to your employer if you do not feel competent in carrying out a particular task so that they can support you to increase your competency.

By understanding not only the things you must do with regards to health and safety but also the things you shouldn’t do, you can ensure that you provide care of the highest quality that is delivered in a safe manner, whilst minimising risk and complying with legislation, regulation, standards and best practice.