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HSA launches free online course for seasonal horticulture workers

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The 40-minute online course is suitable for seasonal workers, students, and anyone working in horticulture on a part-time or full-time basis

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2 June 2022 | 0

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has launched a free short online course for seasonal workers in horticulture on its e-learning portal.

The 40-minute online course is suitable for seasonal workers, students, and anyone working in horticulture on a part-time or full-time basis. It is also a useful refresher course for seasonal workers who may be returning to work in Ireland after a break.

A recent CSO labour force survey found that 75% of employees working in horticulture in Ireland were non-Irish nationals. To cater for this large section of the horticultural workforce, the HSA has provided this course in over 10 languages. In addition to English, the course has been translated into the most common ten languages of workers in the horticulture sector: Belarusian, Bulgarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Thai, and Ukrainian.

The Group Manager facility on the e-learning portal allows managers or supervisors to register a group of employees to take the course, at their own pace and in their own time.

On successful completion of this course learners should be able to

  • Identify employer and employee responsibilities in the workplace,
  • Recognise key hazards and risks in horticulture,
  • Protect their own welfare and wellbeing at work, and
  • Learners will also be able to source further health and safety information and guidance.

“This free short course is ideal for employers in horticulture to offer to their seasonal workers, as part of their health and safety induction and training,” said HSA enterprise and employee support manager, Joanne Harmon. “As the course is available in ten languages, it is also accessible to workers whose first language is not English and can be taken on a mobile phone or device.”

A certificate is awarded to participants on successful completion of the course which includes a short assessment. A minimum score of 80% is required to pass. Once complete, learners can download their certificate and employers can store it as part of training records.

This online course coincides with HSA guidance for seasonal workers, which is also available in the same 10 languages on the HSA website.

The guidance highlights the main hazards for horticultural workers which includes:

  • Untrained/unauthorised drivers
  • Poorly maintained tractors, vehicles, and machinery (for example brakes, mirrors and steps)
  • Incorrect manual handling techniques
  • Unsafe work at heights
  • Slips, trips and falls

Pat Griffin, HSA senior inspector said: “The HSA aim to ensure that all workers in horticulture have a clear understanding of the risks in their workplace and the actions required to avoid workplace injury and ill health. The reduction of workplace injuries and fatalities in all sectors remains our priority and the Authority will continue to work with employers and employees on preventative measures. This online course along with our guidelines will not only serve as a useful resource for those non-Irish national employees, but also to all working in the industry.”

The HSA’s free short online course for seasonal workers in horticulture is now available at: hsalearning.ie

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