The safest possible start – why your new hires need Day Zero training

A strong, successful safety culture relies on employees understanding what’s expected of them – even before they start their first shift. 

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and associated regulations, you’re required to train employees to recognise and reduce risks in your workplace. The timing of this training is critical, particularly in a high-risk builders merchant environment. 

Day Zero training helps new hires walk in with a firm knowledge of your health and safety policies, practices and procedures – and reduce risk from the moment they step foot on site.

What is Day Zero training?

Day Zero training is an early health and safety onboarding programme delivered before an employee’s first day on the job. It covers your branch’s safety policies and processes and highlights risks your new recruits might encounter in their role. It typically covers topics including: 

  • Emergency procedures
  • Safe working practices
  • Hazard identification
  • Risk reporting protocols 
  • Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) 

The training provides a solid foundation in your business’s approach to safety and outlines new employees’ responsibilities in identifying and mitigating risk. This grounding prevents accidents and injuries during workers’ initial weeks and establishes positive attitudes towards compliance for the future. 

How should Day Zero training be delivered? 

While nothing beats face-to-face Day Zero training, it can prove expensive and time-consuming for single hires. Online e-learning offers a convenient, cost-efficient alternative. 

If you’re already on Opus Compliance Cloud, you have everything you need to deliver effective Day Zero training. New staff can complete key courses remotely, while you track their performance and pick up areas for on-the-job reinforcement once they’ve joined. Core modules to consider are: 

  • Manual handling 
  • Fire safety awareness
  • Working at height
  • Workplace transport and traffic safety
  • Display screen equipment (DSE)
  • Site health and safety

What are the benefits of Day Zero training? 

Day Zero training is an important first step in meeting your legal duties as an employer. By protecting staff health and safety at the earliest opportunity, you’ll also reap the benefits of a positive compliance culture: 

  • Increased employee morale – By teaching new employees to take an active role in risk reduction, you lower the odds of workplace safety incidents, which boosts confidence, engagement and productivity. 
  • Regulatory compliance – Day Zero training builds employee awareness of critical H&S regulations, helping to avoid fines, penalties and reputational damage.
  • Improved efficiency – Reliable safety knowledge helps your team stay focused and on task, preventing downtime caused by accidents, injuries and near misses. 
  • Happier customers – Robust compliance practices fuel quality customer service and a safe, secure working and retail environment.  

Discuss your training options with an Opus expert 

Need help shaping a Day Zero training programme for a safer, more productive workplace? Talk to us about online and in-person training options for your builders merchant. You can reach us at or 0330 044 4015.