My employer wants to send me for mandatory training because we are using new chemicals. Do I have to go?

If you are going to be dealing with new risks, such as new chemicals, it is wise to take relevant training, and your employer can insist that you do. Your employer has a legal duty to provide you with adequate Health and Safety training when recruited, or if you are exposed to new or increased risks. And if you cause injuries to others because you were not working in a safe way, you could even be personally liable.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 (MHSW) and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999 (COSHH) both refer to the need to 'inform' and 'train' employees, and suggest that employees should be taught to understand the duties imposed by legislation.

You can find advice from the Health and Safety Executive on chemicals here.

More information from the TUC about the hazards of working with chemicals and dust and the importance of proper training. Also see this Chemicals and dust – from the TUC book Hazards at Work.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.