The obvious answer is, of course, a necessity but invariably, in my experience, many operators at best pay lip service to this type of training and at worst ignore it entirely.
Having worked in the service and hospitality industry all of my adult life and been a multiple site operator I understand why compliance training tends to take a back seat to mandatory training such as personal licences but for so many reasons it shouldn’t.
The situation is not helped by government guidance which is a little vague to say the least. For instance regarding Food Hygiene training the Food Standards Agency advice is:
Food business operators are required by law, to ensure that food handlers receive appropriate supervision and instruction/training in food hygiene in line with their work activity and should enable them to handle food safely.
In the UK, food handlers don't have to hold a food hygiene certificate to prepare or sell food, although many food businesses will prefer that they do. The necessary skills may be obtained through on-the-job training, self-study or relevant prior experience.
UK food hygiene certificates don't have an expiry date. It is left to the discretion of the food business operator or environmental health officer to decide whether a refresher course is needed. This may be a result of changes to legislation or technological developments in food hygiene.
Not exactly the most assertive advice and certainly not written in a manner that would indicate the serious consequences that can ensue if staff are not trained properly and something goes wrong. These are:
For an individual
Maximum: when tried on a formal charge (indictment):
- Unlimited fine and /or 2 years’ custody when tried summarily
For offences under The General Food Regulations:
The maximum when tried summarily is an unlimited fine and/or 6 months’ custody
For an Organisation.
Maximum: when tried on a formal charge (indictment):
· Unlimited fine
When tried summarily the penalty is an unlimited fine and the offence range is £100 fine – £3 million fine.
These are only the possible legal punishments for breaching food hygiene laws and don’t take into account the long term damage to your business from the ensuing publicity that follows a prosecution.
Food hygiene prosecutions range from breaches found during inspections by a licensed food safety officer (from the local authority in which your business is located) to investigation after a complaint for poisoning or allergic reaction. Allergic reaction is now a common headline and does not just happen to small takeaways. Jamie's Italian - Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant chain - was fined £8,500 after one branch served wheat pasta to a woman who had told three members of staff that she had a wheat allergy. She was violently sick after visiting the restaurant and suffered a massive allergic reaction.
First Aid is also an area of legislation that is at times a little unclear as to what is required of the operator.
How many first-aiders are needed?
The findings of an employer's first-aid needs assessment will help them decide how many first-aiders are required. There are no hard and fast rules on exact numbers and all the relevant circumstances of your particular workplace should be taken into account.
Who is an appointed person?
When an employer's first-aid needs assessment indicates that a first-aider is unnecessary, the minimum requirement is to appoint a person to take charge of first-aid arrangements. The roles of this appointed person include looking after the first-aid equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. They can also provide emergency cover, within their role and competence, where a first-aider is absent due to unforeseen circumstances (annual leave does not count).
Do appointed persons need to undertake first-aid training?
To fulfil their role, appointed persons do not need first-aid training. However, emergency first-aid training courses are available.
Once again the government guidance doesn’t exactly indicate the issues that can arise for a business if staff don’t know what to do in an emergency.
These are only two examples of Health and safety legislation that affect the hospitality trade but others including fire safety follow the same basic ethos of self assessment by safety audit. This means the responsibility is yours to ensure that your staff and customers are safe. Not only from a commercial business perspective but I would suggest that purely from a moral point of view these responsibilities should be taken seriously. The people they are designed to protect are your Mum, Dad, wife, husband or child.
Training is the best means of ensuring that you steer clear of any breaches of HS legislation and the swingeing fines and possible imprisonment and more importantly you don’t have to live with a potential injury or worse on your conscience because you tried to save a couple of pennies.
The Importance of Compliance Training – Protecting Your Company
Compliance Training is essential to ensuring your employees are educated on the laws, regulations and your internal company policies within your business.
The importance of compliance training cannot be overstated, however, since adherence to all applicable laws and regulations that concern your business is absolutely vital.
In more recent years companies have started recognising the importance of compliance training and have started addressing the issue by creating training plans to cover this.
To talk to someone who can give you practical advice on what is appropriate for your business in relation to compliance training, please give the Innpacked Team a call on 08000 786056.
Please see our next dates in the Leeds area for Personal Licence courses:
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