A recent case has again highlighted the importance of not just training staff in the risks, hazards and controls associated with their work, but to also keep meticulous records of not just that the training happened and on which day, but what was covered in the training itself. This weeks Case Review will explore how excellent training records have protected this business from a costly negligence claim.

The employee claimed that his injuries were the result of a lack of training in the businesses new defect reporting system, that led to him using a defective seat rather than reporting it and suffering injuries as a result.

The employee claimed not to have been given a copy of the handbook on the new system that all staff received, not to have seen the safety alerts and posters on the new system that were in every console and notice board.

Judge Pillay noted that it made sense that the employee had in fact received the handbook and material but that even if he hadn’t the clear evidence of training don in a Toolbox Talk that the employee attended, shows the employee was in fact trained in the operation of the system.

“I find [the worker] was adequately instructed on the transition period between the old and new systems, particularly because I find he received the flyer that clearly identified the operative date,” the Judge said in dismissing the case.


The take home for all businesses should be this – write it down!

Toolbox Talks, incident response meetings as well as formal training should be fully documented. The business should be able to prove what was discussed, when and with who. Every time a toolbox talk is done a memo should outline what was discussed and be signed off by the attendees and then circulated and signed off by those who were not able to come to the talk to ensure all staff are across the information, then those memos should be stored for recall as required.

Communicating changes, risks, hazards and controls is important to keep people safe. Documenting the fact the business has done this is important to keep the business protected.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM &IR)
Executive Manager Employment and Training