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Health and safety in the workplace – Are you obliged to train your future employees?

The Occupational Health and Safety Act stipulates that as the company director, you must provide training for your future employees – and not only for these, but also for those who have been with you for some time. This is defined in § 12 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in Germany, because only in this way can you ensure that your employees do not come to any harm during working hours, that they can handle the equipment correctly and that accidents do not occur as a result of human error. It is important that you make your employees aware of why compliance with these rules is good and right for them.

How to train your future employees

Even before your new employees start working for you, you should provide them with training. Depending on which type of activity they are to carry out, they must be shown different things. The basis for this training is the risk assessment that you have carried out at the beginning of your business activity. Where are the risks in the job, and through what behaviour can employees minimise them? This training therefore includes rules of conduct as well as a demonstration of how to use their personal protective equipment correctly. Employees should also receive training in how to behave in the event of accidents or problems during operations.

When the tasks are re-allocated

Has one of your employees only worked behind the counter so far and are they due to take over tasks in the car wash in future? Then you should show them exactly how to keep themselves safe and how to behave when performing these tasks. They are exposed to different risks here than in their previous workplace, so training is important. They also interact differently with customers here, for example by providing them with information and assistance. Do not assume that your employees have already told them all the important things! You often do not even mention things that you do or leave to be done on a daily basis, because they seem so obvious. For the employee who is taking over the new tasks, however, they are not. Avoid mistakes by instructing them in detail about the risks and strategies to avoid them in their new workplace.

New technologies and work equipment

An upgrade in the car wash is not only a cause for joy, but also for a new course of training. The new features also mean new risks and hazards, or at least new ways of doing things in the daily work of your employees. Accordingly, it is important that you explain to them exactly how the system works and the nature of the hazard and demonstrate how they should deal with it.

Especially important: After accidents

Normally, accidents should not occur if you have thoroughly trained your employees. But something can always happen. If you have made every effort to minimise the effects of the accident, you should start a new training session as soon as possible. Obviously, one or more of your employees was not aware of how he or she should have acted in the situation. Go through the accident again with your employees and find the point where the rules were not followed. Repeat them once again and make it clear to your employees that compliance is really important. This also applies, by the way, if the accident was caused by a failure on your part – those who can admit mistakes appear more human and kind.

Summary: You must train all your employees

In actual fact, you need to train not only your future employees, but everyone – including those who have been with you for a long time. Since the routine of everyday work often leads to a little complacency, you should repeat the training at regular intervals. Annual training has proven effective for adult employees, and you should even repeat the training for young employees every six months. When introducing new work equipment and technologies, after an accident and before a change in the distribution of tasks, the special training courses take place in addition to those that you already schedule on a regular basis.