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Health and Safety Training, A Sundry Item or A Legislative Requirement?


We try to speak our minds on this blog, not to alienate, not to make friends, but to simply point out facts as we see them. We’re a fortunate bunch at Kett Business Solutions Limited, we love what we do, and like our clients we are able to pick and choose who we work with. Some businesses are less fortunate and have to take anything that comes their way so to speak. But we try to educate, and when we do we also try to do so humorously, so please forgive us.

One always difficult aspect of what we do is trying to get paid. And its mainly after spending for instance a week at a company training their staff in health and safety or plant training, the other sides of our business dealings ironically rarely seem to be affected.

It can be equally difficult when we’re entering into negotiation of payment terms at the beginning. We receive a phone call requiring our services, we spend time with clients making sure that we’ve covered every aspects of their needs, it’s all in the bag, hands are shaken, contracts signed, and then we’re are told we wont be getting paid for our work for 30, no 60, no 90 days.

Now it’s quite likely you are going to miss the whole point here. We are not too worried about the aspect of immediate financial re-numeration for our hard efforts, and often or not the professional advice on a whole plethora of non related issues than the one we’re at a business for, it’s part of the service, and we find it rewarding. Our business is run by professionals who thoroughly enjoy what they do and are highly knowledgeable in their areas. We could probably get by waiting three months to be paid, just like supermarkets when you do your weekly shop….. but that humorous analogy is by the by.

The issue as we see it is this. We don’t issue certificates until we’ve been paid. Our systems no longer allow us to. A lot of training businesses are the same. So if our partners don’t pay us for 60 days, and their new novice crane drivers are let free on their sites, often thrown in the deep end, and their health and safety file isn’t complete, they are quite clearly not fulfilling their end of the bargain. With the likes of the HSE, not us. They are required to train their staff, monitor them, have a safe place of work, keep information flowing back and forth and have their health and safety file at hand and constantly made up-to-date, especially if they themselves are monitored for conformity. ISO’s anyone?

It’s plain to see really why this happens. Health and Safety training, for all the lip service many firms give it is still viewed as a sundry item, like all the lorry loads of consumables that are ordered and can be put off paying for for as long as possible. Many health and safety managers don’t realize their accounts departments have little boxes to tick a level of importance they see training as being in and arrangements to pay companies like ours, you can guarantee, are not in that top box.

We ask to be be paid within ten days of completion of training so we can get their certificates to them so their companies are compliant. Most honor this and we find the health and safety standards at these businesses funnily enough tend to be second to none. The irony is those who dig their heels in and refuse to pay sometimes up to 60 or 90 days, 90% of their sites health and safety culture leaves a lot to be desired in our experience, so more often than not we simply walk away. Speaking of those certificates that they eventually get given, they do give the originals to their candidates and actually put a copy in their health and safety files as required don’t they? Of course they do!

They say cultures are constantly moving forward, developing, soaking up more information and progressing. We feel health and safety culture has indeed very much moved forward in the UK, but often needs a little kick from time to time to make people realise we aren’t discussing sundry items here, we’re discussing a companies responsibilities and above all, legal requirements.

So please, where ever you are out there, if a health and safety training company representative requests that they be paid quickly after training, don’t look at them as if they’re mad and you’ve just been insulted. Realise it’s actually for your businesses benefit not theirs.

After all, it’s not like they’ve just asked you to pay up front or anything is it? Now there’s an idea!

You see! We told you we like to keep it humorous.