To Refresh or Not to Refresh - That is the Question

To Refresh or Not to Refresh - That is the Question


  • Date: Monday 12th October 2015

Refresher training is delivered to ensure legal and standard compliance in areas such as health, safety, environmental, quality, processes, policy and procedures. They are generally short duration courses or briefings that aim to promote recall and reinforcement of previously acquired knowledge and skills. The problem for many employers can be knowing the level, duration and frequency of this training.

Why do we need it

Quite simply 'if you don't use it - you could lose it'. Most often we may not use the skill e.g. first aid, and as a result the specific techniques we learnt may be forgotten or recalled incorrectly. It is essential to ensure team's skills are honed and remain current. Refresher training can be used to:

  • ensure the knowledge is fresh and correct in our mind
  • keep up to date with new laws and technology
  • keep abreast of current good practice
  • invest in our team and create a positive culture
  • ensure our teams remain confident to carry out their tasks
  • ensure legal compliance

When should we refresh training

This can be a difficult question to answer and very dependent on the tasks we are completing. It may be dictated by the training provider but should ultimately be identified through the risk assessment process. Some indications that refresher training is needed could be:

  • awarding body policy
  • employees asking for retraining
  • frequent accidents
  • non compliance with company rules
  • unwillingness to carry out tasks
  • obstructive behaviour and difficultly accepting new concepts / changes

What should you do

Refresher training can be a requirement of the certification body e.g. CITB; and these may have to be delivered by approved providers. Alternatively refresher training may be delivered as internal toolbox / safety talks on a rolling 3 or 6 monthly cycle by a competent person; typically used for hazard awareness.

It is important to consider the following:

  • When training is identified by risk assessment - ask yourself how safety critical is this training and as result how often this should this be refreshed
  • Be clear on legislative requirements for training and refresher training
  • Be clear on the awarding body requirements for refresher training and ensure that your internal systems are robust enough to manage this
  • speak with your employees during consultation and appraisals regarding training and competence

Ultimately refresher training can boost employee confidence and moral, increasing an organisations competence. Ensure that you manage the process effectively.


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