Key Points Of Teaching Health And Safety Using The Conscious Competence Ladder

The teaching and learning of health and safety processes can be a difficult task no matter whether you are the teacher or the pupil. As the teacher, it is up to you to try to make it as easy to comprehend as possible and one way of doing this is to use the Conscious Competence Ladder (CCL).

What is the CCL?

The CCL ensures that no matter what level of understanding the student is on, they are introduced to a four stage variety of techniques which can help them succeed.

First Stage

Stage one is unconscious incompetence which is the level for people who do not realise the extent of what they are yet to learn. It is also for anyone who is not concerned with the regulation of health and safety methods.

Stage 2

This stage is known as conscious incompetence. The student is now able to view what they still have to learn and although they may struggle with the feeling of frustration about this, they will start to show some regard to health and safety guidelines.

Stage 3

Stage three is conscious competence and people at this level will hold high comprehension of health and safety matters and will be engaging with associated practices.

Stage Four

Stage four is unconscious competence and by this point people are fully trained and are able to understand all concepts of health and safety. Not only will they will they be confident about enforcing health and safety but they will be oblivious to the fact that they are doing so due to the high level of comprehension.

Learning from Mistakes

When a mistake is made in the learning process, make sure that you treat each case separately dependent on which level they are at. Some students will be able to accept these mistakes easier than others, especially if they are at the stages where they are conscious of their need for information. Take care to be a little more delicate with those who may not be aware that they need further training so as not to dishearten them too much!

Learning Process

It is a good idea to help students who are struggling by creating a plan of action for learning and to give them sections to work on to make it more manageable. This can be particularly evident for those who are at the ‘conscious incompetence’ stage and students are increasingly likely to feel discouraged by this; try to give extra stimulation to these pupils to help them progress.


Make sure that even once students start to get towards the final stages of the ladder they are reassured of their learning. At the same time it is important that once they are feeling more confident with health and safety they do not overcompensate and forget their skills, more-so they should be encouraged to continue practicing within their environment.


It is vital that once students achieve the stage of unconscious competence, they do not take their new skills for granted. This can be easily done especially once they don’t even realise they are carrying out the health and safety checks in the first place! Encourage them to continue to put them into practice consciously and they will continue to learn without being actively taught.

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