Health and Safety Workbooks

Anne Morris (Loughborough University)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 1 June 2000




Morris, A. (2000), "Health and Safety Workbooks", The Electronic Library, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 216-238.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

These workbooks form part of a series of ten titles aimed at providing health and safety awareness and training in the workplace. Others in the series include Environmental Awareness; Hazardous Substances; Office Safety; Personal Protective Equipment; Safe Manual Handling; and Safety at Work.

Each workbook is divided into 20‐minute sections that provide basic facts and figures, checklists, techniques, ideas and information. Assignments, exercises and case studies are also given to help reinforce the knowledge and to put the learning into perspective. The workbooks are designed to be used either for self‐study purposes completed in the working environment but reviewed by a trainer, manager or safety officer at a later date, or as part of a training programme.

The four workbooks reviewed all follow the same format; the first 12 pages of the introduction are virtually the same in each case. The reader is first invited to enter personal details. This is then followed by a short section describing how to use the self‐study workbook, with notes for trainers, managers and students. The reader is then invited to complete a learning diary, specify learning objectives, complete a learning log and fill in a learning application form with sections for action planned, dates and comments (although how the learning log and learning application form can be achieved before continuing the workbook, as suggested, baffles me). Each workbook also contains an almost identical section on “How to get the best results from this workbook” and a similar section on “Learning objectives”.

Following the introduction in each workbook are specific chapters. The workbook titled “Display Screen Equipment” includes chapters on understanding VDU regulations; reducing VDU hazards and risks; and VDU assessments. “Risk Assessment” covers understanding safety law; identifying hazards and risks; practical risk assessment and risk assessment checklists while “Safety for Managers” has chapters on understanding safety law; putting safety first; four steps to managing safety; and the accident iceberg. The specific chapters in “Fire Safety” include understanding safety law; what to do when fire breaks out; be fire safe; and fire‐fighting equipment.

Each workbook then contains a chapter entitled “Learning Review”. This chapter attempts to test the knowledge and understanding of the reader. Some workbooks also provide case studies. It is suggested that the exercises be completed fully and then reviewed with managers, colleagues, safety representatives or workmates. Answers to these and other exercises in the workbooks are provided in appendices.

Without doubt these workbooks contain useful information for staff. However, I do have some reservations. The information is rather superficial in some areas, particularly with regard to the Display Screen Equipment Regulations; will the reader know what a habitual VDU user is, for example? Also some of the exercises seem contrived. Readers are asked to provide definitions for terms on one side of the page with a box saying “please complete before continuing”, when a complete list of the definitions is provided on the opposite page!This occurs more than once. Some of the exercises may also appear condescending to some readers. Despite this, the workbooks may be a source of inspiration for trainers when presenting health and safety courses. I doubt that many organisations will use them as self‐study guides, however; the cost of the workbooks and the time needed to complete them will be prohibitive.

Related articles