Help in achieving good practice

Advice on how to identify and deliver improved training for rail managers on health, with links to further sources of help.

In order to improve competence on health, we undertook in our Health Programme for 2010-14 pdf icon PDF, 707 Kb to source, or devise in partnership with others, a syllabus for occupational health training for rail industry managers.

We have carried out a desk top review of widely available occupational health training syllabuses, including relevant National Occupational Standards (competence based vocational qualifications) managed by the rail transport and construction sector skills councils.We looked for syllabuses which could provide rail managers with a broad overview of health risk management, as well as sufficient knowledge of the key occupational health issues facing the rail industry, including for example substances hazardous to health under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 as amended (COSHH), lead, asbestos, noise, vibration, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and stress.

We have identified a number of potential sources of help to support rail companies in achieving good practice in health training for their managers. These include free health training resources for smaller contractors and heritage operators, as well as training support for larger rail companies. We have worked with the Construction Industry Training Body (CITB) to develop a two day training course on Health and Well being in the rail industry.

Manager training in occupational health can be developed and delivered in-house, with external support, or a combination of the two.

Trainers will need adequate knowledge of occupational health risk management principles, practices and legal requirements; have the ability to train; and be familiar with the nature of the work and potential health risks involved.

The next step is for rail companies (or groups of duty holders) to assess their own training needs and decide how best to fill any manager competence gaps on occupational health. A training needs analysis involving your front line managers should help you to decide on the required content, level of detail, and delivery method of any occupational health training, to suit your business.

The final step will be to check that occupational health training for your managers has been effective. Training can provide the foundations of competence but it does not necessarily result in a competent manager.

You will need to assess and review manager competence to ensure that occupational health training is being applied effectively and consistently to protects workers' health, and reduce associated costs to your business.