H & S Guidance – Information, Instruction and Training

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Health and Safety Information System


There is no legal definition of ‘information’, ‘instruction’ or ‘training’ but in practice:

  • information means providing factual material which tells people about risks and precautions;
  • instruction means telling people what they should do; and
  • training means helping them learn how to do it, but can include giving information and instruction.


The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (the Management Regulations) place general duties on employers and others to provide information, instruction and training in order to ensure health and safety.  This must be carried out by competent persons.  Other regulations address specific hazards and require associated information and training. Where such specific requirements overlap, compliance with the most detailed regulations will probably suffice.


To employees

(a) To provide relevant and comprehensible information about:

  • risks to health and safety
  • preventive and protective measures
  • emergency/evacuation procedures
  • health and safety law (via a poster or leaflet)
  • their responsibilities to comply with site rules
  • how to use work equipment and personal protective equipment

(b) To provide adequate health and safety training on induction and as required (including refresher training where appropriate).  Some regulations may specify the content of training.

To other employees

Where workplaces are shared, each employer must take all reasonable steps to inform the other employers concerned of the risks to their employees’ health and safety arising from work activities as part of his/her business. (Reg. 11 of the ‘Management’ Regulations 1999)

To non-employees

To provide information, instruction and training where necessary for health and safety (general requirement of Section 3 of HSW Act or more specific requirement of legislation (e.g. COSHH Regs 2002)) so far as is reasonably practicable.

General guidance

  • Information can be in verbal form, written or on a computer system and should be as easy to understand as possible. Checks should be carried out to ensure that the information is understood
  • The Management Regulations specify that health and safety training, carried out either in house or by an external provider, must be provided on recruitment, on exposure to new or increased risks, and be repeated periodically where appropriate.
  • Ask yourself/find out what standards of competence (the knowledge and experience needed to work safely) are required for each job.
  • Ensure that you don’t leave out training requirements for managers and supervisors, young people, new recruits, part-time employees, temps/agency workers.
  • Training should be prioritised and set to a timescale, be carried out in works time and not at the expense of those receiving the training.

Managers and supervisors

have particular responsibilities in ensuring that the arrangements put in place to achieve a safe and healthy workplace are effective.  They need to:

  1. accept that they have a responsibility to manage health and safety
  2. recognise that health and safety is part and parcel of good management
  3. take action to ensure good standards of health and safety, including:
  • understanding the hazards in the work;
  • be able to organise or carry out a risk assessment;
  • be aware of the ways that risks can be minimised;
  • make decisions on how to control risks;
  • put across the health and safety message to staff;
  • check that precautions are put into and remain in place;
  • investigate when things go wrong; and
  • decide how to make improvements.

Training and Enterprise Councils may be able to assist you in finding courses and also financing them.

The National Council for Vocational Qualifications can advise you on National Vocational Qualifications that are appropriate for your needs.

Tel: 020 7387 9898, fax 020 7387 0978.

Address: 22 Euston Road, London NW1 2BZ


Have you identified your duties and responsibilities to provide information, instruction and training? YES/NO

Have you considered and confirmed your health and safety training needs? YES/NO

Do you have procedures and practices in place to provide information, instruction and training identified in (1) above? YES/NO

Do you record information, instruction and training received by individual employees? YES/NO

Is the person who provides information, instruction or training competent to do so? YES/NO


Health and Safety training (INDG345). www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg345.pdf (supercedes indg213)

A Guide to Information, Instruction and Training: Common Provisions in Health and Safety Law. (HSE) (INDG235)

You can do it- The what, why and how of improving health and safety. (1994) (0 7176 0726 7) (£14.50)

Managing health and safety- An open learning workbook for managers and trainers. (HSE) (1997) (0 717611531)(£14.95)

Health and Safety Training- What you need to know. – (HSE)(INDG 345)