Information Centre

Closing The Health And Safety Knowledge Gap

Many work environments can be potentially dangerous. There are rules and regulations to minimise the risks and keep your workforce safe. Understanding and following these rules is crucial. However, these regulations are not static. They are continually updated to serve our needs better and improve work health and safety. As these laws, regulations, and best practices change, uncertainty can work its way into the workforce. If you do not actively keep up-to-date with the latest information, a health and safety knowledge gap can begin to develop until your workforce no longer enacts best practices. This, combined with more experienced and knowledgeable members leaving the workforce, can dilute the knowledge base throughout the organisation.

Identifying and closing any health and safety knowledge gap is essential. Once you have identified the gaps, you can begin remedying the issue. There are ways to close the knowledge gap, from updating existing team members to introducing appropriate training for new members.

Spotting A Gap In Your Knowledge

Knowledge gaps are usually reasonably evident with just a little bit of searching. Regular assessments and safety standard tests will highlight areas for improvement. If you experience workplace accidents, this should be cause for concern and investigated thoroughly. Of course, accidents do occur, even in workspaces with stringent safety rules, but it could be a symptom of an underlying problem. 

Speaking with your team may also unveil a lot. Though employees may have blindspots regarding their knowledge – a case of you don’t know what you don’t know – they may also be able to identify areas they feel their knowledge is lacking. More experienced members of the team, such as safety managers, may be able to provide insight into the team’s knowledge as a whole.

What causes a knowledge gap?

Regulations Changes and Updates

Changes to regulations and best practices are among the leading causes of knowledge gaps. It is essential that you stay up to date with the latest developments and regulatory changes. And this information should be shared with the wider workforce, not limited to the safety managers. The new information must be disseminated throughout the workforce. Processes and procedures should be adjusted accordingly, and additional training may be required. At NATAS our training courses are checked and updated periodically to ensure you stay up to date with the most current HSE legislation.

Inexperienced Staff

Another issue you may encounter is key members leaving your team. As experienced team members leave your workforce, they may take critical knowledge with them. On the other side of the coin, an influx of new, less experienced staff can upset the balance of knowledge throughout the workforce. When working with a team of new starters, you will see a much larger knowledge gap which will need addressing to maintain safety on site.

Poor Communication

Poor communication is also a key course of health and safety knowledge gaps. A lack of communication presents a clear problem and will hinder the spread of vital health and safety information. Safety managers may not effectively communicate health and safety practices even where channels are set up for information to be passed on. 

Insufficient Training

If there is a health and safety knowledge gap, a likely culprit is low-quality training. If your health and safety training is not to a high enough standard, you’ll have a knowledge gap throughout your workforce. This can be extremely dangerous. When dealing with areas such as handling asbestos, working at height, and manual handling, you must make sure your team is well-informed and properly trained. 

Closing The Knowledge Gap

Identifying a knowledge gap and its cause is a great start to improving on-site safety. But it is not enough on its own. You must work with the information you have gathered to close the gap and improve health and safety standards. You must rework processes and standards to meet existing legislation and ensure your team understands and adopts the new processes.

Health and Safety Training

The best way to close the knowledge gap is through better training. This not only directly counters one of the leading causes of a knowledge gap, low-quality training, but it addresses the problem of newer and inexperienced staff. No matter the subject, how niche the area of training is, or how many or few people require the training – always ensure the highest quality education available. 

Training can be delivered online or in person; both are great choices. The versatility of delivery methods allows you to choose the right option for your team. In-person training is often a preferable choice. Face-to-face time with an expert instructor and seeing in-person demonstrations is invaluable. For hands-on roles, in-person health and safety training is a particularly good option.

However, online health and safety training offers some unique benefits too. It’s a more versatile and flexible option allowing you to work from almost anywhere. And with pre-recorded content, you can break down the training into digestible segments. 

Accredited Health and Safety

When choosing health and safety training, whether online or in person, look for relevant accreditations for example: IATP, ROSPA, BOHS. As discussed earlier, not any training will suffice. In fact, low-quality training causes a knowledge gap and can lead to poor health and safety standards and practices on site. Accredited health and safety training must meet the standards outlined by the accrediting body. 

Choose NATAS For Health and Safety Training

NATAS are the national asbestos training accreditation scheme. We have operated for over 25 years, providing high-quality health and safety training, including asbestos awareness, online manual handling courses, and working at height training online.  We offer a broad range of courses delivered in-person and online. 

Accredited by IATP & ROSPA, in line with HSE standards, our training course certificates are universally accepted by construction contractors, local authorities, insurance companies, and members of the SSIP, i.e CHAS, Exor, ConstructionLine, SafeContractor and SMAS. We also provide BOHS qualification training both in classroom and via online webinar. For efficient and effective online and in-person health and safety training, choose NATAS. For more information or a quote, call our team now on 0121 285 0795 or make an enquiry


Learn More About Health and Safety

Explore our blog for more guidance on improving your workplace health and safety. It is filled with valuable guides on handling asbestos, working from heights and more. If you would like more information on health and safety training, we recommend “ONLINE TRAINING VS IN-PERSON TRAINING” and “EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES FOR ASBESTOS TRAINING“.

Have more questions? Need more info on the courses or the sectors we work with?

Check out our NATAS Information Centre where your questions will be answered. We also provide lots of additional helpful information and news articles.

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NATAS provide a full portfolio of Asbestos Training and qualification courses in the UK and Internationally, as well as bespoke training solutions to meet your organisation’s requirements. If you would like a quote for your required in-house training or would like more information call the team now on 0121 285 0795 or make an enquiry below!

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