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Businesses urged to reassess training after rise in OHS issues

By Emma Musgrave | |5 minute read

Many businesses are putting themselves and their employees at risk of falling victim to serious occupational hazards over a lack of training, new research has found.

Cloud Assess’ new report, Fatal Negligence: Unveiling the Deadly Consequences of Inadequate Employee Training, was conducted among learning and development (L&D) professionals in Australia’s high-risk industries. It revealed that the quantity and quality of training provided to employees has a direct impact on their safety at work.

According to the report, the industries with the highest number of fatalities were found to invest significantly less in training than those with lower fatality rates.


“For example, the transport industry, which is statistically the most dangerous in Australia, invests the equivalent of just 5 per cent of its total wage spend into training per year. By contrast, the utility sector, which is the safest of the industries investigated by annual fatalities, invests 7 per cent,” the report flagged.

“As well as investing less, the study found that industries with higher fatality numbers also offer less training per employee, per year, than safer industries, on average. Transport firms offer less consistent training, with just 54 per cent of their employees going through training every single year, compared with 65 per cent of utilities employees.”

The report also showcased the attitudes towards training in high-risk industries. While, it acknowledged, L&D professionals are aware of safety risks within their respective industries, many still fail to prioritise training as a means to combat – or at least reduce the occurrences.

“For instance, just 16 per cent of respondents from the transport sector claimed that employee safety would be their biggest concern if all training were to stop. L&D workers in the manufacturing sector were found to be most focused on training specifically to keep employees safe in high-risk environments (25 per cent), despite having a far lower fatality rate than the transport sector,” the report said.

“In addition, the research revealed a link between training delivery methods and safety, with the safest industries consistently implementing a blend of both online and in-person training for maximum learning benefits. What’s more, the industries with the lowest fatality numbers were also most likely to measure skills competency using meaningful metrics, such as changes in behaviour, rather than simply ticking a compliance check box.”

Commenting further on the findings, Rob Bright, founder of Cloud Assess, said:

“Whilst attitudes towards workplace safety have begun to shift in recent years, hundreds of employees across Australia continue to lose their lives at work every single year due to a lack of training designed to build competency and improve safety.

“This doesn’t have to be the case. Our research shows that lives could be saved by providing all those working in high-risk roles with adequate training. These insights, coupled with recent high-profile court cases [that] have held executives accountable for failing to protect their staff, signal a new precedent. The bare minimum is no longer enough when it comes to instilling essential skills in employees. Executives must take accountability for the safety of their employees, and this means training for safety, not for audits.

“It’s encouraging to see that those industries which are prioritising consistent, high-quality training for all employees, such as manufacturing and utilities, are succeeding in reducing the number of preventable incidents amongst their staff. We hope that these new insights will prompt all businesses to reassess their approach to training to better protect their workforce.”



Training is the process of enhancing a worker's knowledge and abilities to do a certain profession. It aims to enhance trainees' work behaviour and performance on the job.