Training and Vocational Qualifications (VQs)

What you need to know

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires employers to provide their employees with information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonable practicable, their health and safety at work .  The self employed also have a duty, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their work activities.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 also specify situations where health and safety training is particularly important, eg when people start work. There are a number of other regulations with specific training requirements, eg The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER98) specifies the need for training for people who use work equipment.

What you need to do

Everyone at work needs to know how to work safely and without risks to health. Appropriate training enables workers to know about the hazards and risks they may face, the precautions to take (including any emergency procedures), and should help them to gain experience safely . Health and safety training should take place during working hours. It is the responsibility of employers to pay for training needed by their employees. Training is available from a variety of sources including:

Recognised standards of formal training and/or competence are normally required for specific tasks or work activities such as:

More general health and safety knowledge can be obtained by attending a training course leading to a nationally recognised health and safety vocational qualification (VQ).

Vocational Qualifications

Health and safety VQs are specific to agriculture and horticulture and are available at two levels of ability.  The qualifications are accredited by Ofqual onto the national Qualifications and Credit Framework. They aim to provide successful candidates with a good general knowledge of relevant health and safety issues.   The VQs should be supplemented with additional technical training for more specific operations eg for skills such as fork lift truck, chainsaw or ATV driving as necessary.

VQs will enable workers at all levels to:

For the self-employed or managers, VQs will also help them:

Which VQ is right for me?
Qualification Level Guided learning hours Title Which VQ
2 23 Level 2 Award in Safe Working  in Agriculture and Production Horticulture Anyone working in the sector or about to join it
3 40 Level 3 Award in Controlling Risks to Health and Safety in Agriculture and Production Horticulture. Supervisors, skilled employees, unit managers, union or worker safety representatives and farmers/growers who are self-employed or employing only family members

For information on VQs see or

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