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Health and Safety E-Learning Courses Starting to Take Off

The broader picture

Health and safety is at the heart of so many small to medium businesses, but not all employees and managers have the time to commit to a full time, part time or even an evening course. With time becoming an ever scarcer resource, the proliferation of Health and Safety E Learning courses as part of a wider online training approach has really started to take off. Of course, as well as saving on time, learning online can also save you money.

If you are reading this as a small business owner, thinking about offering health and safety training online to your workforce, then you are not alone. Many people are taking advantage of the benefits, so let’s take a look at what E-Learning can offer.

While E-learning courses have become synonymous with online health and safety packages it is more accurate to say that they are an important part of a diverse set that fulfils all the multifarious needs that good health and safety requires. In terms of all these distinct aspects of online training there are: E-learning, written training materials, task based (practical) training and some quiz activities. Often a Learning Management System (LMS) is put in place (software-based) to manage the training.

E-Learning Courses: the details

E-Learning courses, sometimes known as CBTs are delivered online and focus on well-defined training topics. In terms of a breakdown of what such courses consist of, let’s take a look.

·       Visuals, audio and written scripts explain procedure and offer background learning in differing forms. This helps appeal to many different preferences in terms of best learning.

·       Self-guided screen control with pause and rewind options for online videos to cater for all speeds and abilities.

·       Marked assignments that will monitor learning and offer ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ in certain areas.

·       Questions that reinforce key points and give constant opportunities to practice.

·       Refresher courses available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

E-Learning Courses: the benefits

It is often a fact that E-Learning is a more efficient method of training than any other, yielding fast and cost-effective results. A major benefit of E-Learning is that it offers unbounded potential for taking advantage of some stellar software that yields exceptional visual cues for learning.

You are not restricted to being in a certain place at a certain time, so work does not suffer as much as it would if you had to attend regular courses at regular times. This contributes to the health and happiness of the workforce to boot, as well as making sure that people can work at their own pace and not be held back or rushed on by those who learn slower or faster.

When you have a relatively large number of employees who need training it makes much more sense to offer E-Learning than have the costly and time-consuming nightmare of trying to schedule courses for them all. As mentioned before, E-Learning makes it easy to go back and check via refreshers if you become unsure about anything. 

Important Changes to CITB Certificates / CSCS CRO Crads

The CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) has announced some major changes to some of its key protocol. This article will look at the most important changes CITB are making.

Beginning on 1st October 2015 the CRO card issued by the CITB will be subject to the following key changes:

All CRO cards issued from 1 October 2015 will expire on 30 September 2017 and are not renewable.

You will be expected to register for a nationally recognised construction related qualification before the card expires (grace period removed).

Only one occupation will be displayed on your CRO card from 1 October 2015.

CSCS will stop issuing CRO cards from 31 March 2017.

These new measures are with a view to paving the way for a complete removal of the CRO card. The reason behind the changes are that CRO cards have been found to be being misused as a shortcut into the industry without having to have the relevant training. Applicants are only required to pass the CITB Health, safety & Environment test to be eligible for a card.  Before the introduction of the new Labourer card, CSCS issued 3,000 cards per month. This monthly figure is now around 12,000! The card is clearly not working in the right way, hence the changes.

Key Points

What should companies consider?

Companies that have operatives with CRO cards should be aware of the following from 1 October 2015:

·       Only one occupation will be displayed on the card

·       All new CRO cards will expire on 30 September 2017 and will not be renewable

·       CSCS will check to see whether the occupation that is being applied for is covered by a nationally recognised qualification and whether the applicant in question holds that qualification

What will happen after this check?

If the applicant is found to hold the relevant qualification, they will be issued with the appropriate ‘skilled card’ after the proof is submitted and checked

If the applicant does not hold the qualification, they can:

·       Apply for a CRO card which will expire on 30 September 2017 and will not be renewable, or

·       Register for the appropriate qualification and apply for a Trainee card which will be valid for three years but will then not be renewable.

 

If the occupation is not covered by a nationally recognised qualification, a CRO card will be issued with an expiry date of 30 September 2017. Meantime the sector in question should determine what constitutes an appropriate route to qualification that is recognised by CSCS.

The implications of the change to the grace period for CITB certificates

This refers to the dramatic change in the Site Safety Plus Scheme Rules, recently implemented by CITB. They are, basically, removing the certificate grace period, which currently stands at six months after expiry. The current grace period process will continue until the 31st of December 2015, after which time the grace period will not be valid without a successful formal appeal to the CITB.

It is up to the individual to renew their certificate by attending a refresher course in place of being obliged to sit in on a new full course.

Everyone will need to be fully aware of when their certificates are due to expire and to ensure that before the end of their certificate they attend the refresher course to reactivate their certificates. Failure to do this could leave individuals at risk of having to attend the entire course again. In practice this affects many people, but especially anyone who currently has a Site Safety Plus Scheme certificate. If this applies to you or your employees you should check expiry dates to ensure that the relevant personnel attend the refresher course in good time. Site Safety Plus refresher courses provided by Safelife include:

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

• SMSTS refresher course

• SSSTS refresher course

 

Construction Site Safety Training

The Health and Safety Executive release annual figures which never fail to show that (along with the agricultural sector) construction is the most dangerous area in which to work, with many fatal and serious accidents relative to the numbers working. This figure changes slightly year on year, but despite the best efforts of all concerned, they are still disturbingly high. Construction site safety training is essential to keep numbers as low as possible – although it must be accepted that sometimes accidents are literally that and cannot be attributed to any specific person, by far the bigger percentage are caused by someone else’s negligence or bad practice.

National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health 

NEBOSH qualifications are aimed at supervisors, managers and coordinators working in construction and making sure that people at management level are well trained in health and safety is one of the very best ways of making working in construction safer. All staff should still be given the appropriate training of course and this is particularly important for anyone working at a height, but with a well-trained manager or supervisor overseeing proceedings, there are less loopholes and incoherence in processes which may cause an accident. Risk assessment, for instance, is far better left in the hands of one, highly trained member of staff. Although it is always recommended that the initial writing of any risk assessment or methodology should be the work of a team, it is not really practical to leave the maintenance of such documents to more than one person, as this is a perfect way to ensure that updates never happen. NEBOSH trained managers become experts in managing chains of command and cascading training constantly, rather than relying on two-yearly updates in the classroom.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme

SMSTS training courses are also aimed at managers and supervisors, and enrolment on one is recommended even if the role is only temporary. Construction site training courses for everyone who works on a site are essential, and this goes for all staff, not just those who are doing the hands-on work. Site safety should be put in the hands of everyone because the more eyes that are watching for defects or problems, the better. Pieces of equipment such as static towers may be in place for weeks or even months and even with thorough training, those using them daily may become complacent about checking every single bolt. People passing beneath are very much at risk from falling objects and they should be trained to also check for safety every time they pass by. Cascading knowledge constantly is one good way to increase site safety and with well trained managers, the training becomes a constant, rather than just an occasional one off.

Changing requirements

The HSE have made recent changes in reporting incidents in the workplace and have also issued new posters which must be displayed prominently. These are perhaps amongst the simpler changes in what must be complied with to ensure that the health and safety training aspects at work are improved and some of the other changes are far more difficult to keep up with. NEBOSH and SMSTS training encompasses the need to keeping up to date with all legislation and having managers and supervisors who have been specifically taught how to keep records and in reporting techniques means that books are always up to date and correct. There is a clear legal requirement of all employers (or their representatives at management level) to have a good record in duty of care of all their workers and this cannot be met if corners are cut. Managers must also ensure that staff have attended the correct courses which will help them carry out their duties safely. Many training courses result in the awarding of a card which employees can use to prove that they have the required level of knowledge. Keeping records of these attainments is an important part of a manager’s job, because it shows that the workforce have a proper grounding in all aspects of health and safety. 

The Dangers of Working at Height

 It is perhaps an obvious statement that working above ground level can be dangerous. It is clear that for every foot above the ground a person is working, the dangers will increase. When considering the dangers of working at height, most people consider simple falls caused by inattention or perhaps inadequate barriers or improperly erected equipment, but in fact the dangers of working at a height are far more than these and must be considered to include the dangers to which people on the ground are also put.

Things falling from above

Perhaps the best know anecdote about things dropping from above is the proverbial penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building. There are claims that people have been killed this way but in fact it would never happen, because the penny is too light and there would be too much wind resistance. It wouldn’t reach a speed of much more than 100 mph, which would just sting a little. However, something weighing around 50g (and, just for reference, a smallish adjustable spanner weighs over 300g), ignoring air resistance, would reach a velocity of about 250 miles per hour. With the energy that would give this relatively small item - around 100 foot-pounds – it would certainly be fatal if it hit you on the head. If you're wearing a hard hat, however, you'll survive. Even a hard hat would be put through its paces if a spanner hit you. Perhaps those simple figures are enough to clarify that it is imperative to attach all tools when working at height and to put signage down below to make sure no one is beneath.

Do you have to go up there?

Some jobs that seem at first sight to need extended work at height may be able to be done at ground level. These would include things like repairing of roof panels and stonework on cornices and similar places. Although obviously it would be necessary to go up in the first place to bring the broken items down and then again when they are fixed to replace them, the time spent up high would be very much reduced and with it much of the risk. This especially applies to when broken items are being removed bit by bit from anywhere – see the previous paragraph on things falling from above! Roofs in particular lend themselves to being fixed on the ground and where possible this should be done. Working on roofs is particularly dangerous. If you do need to go up there then ensure that you have adequate safe working at height training before you do.

Up on the roof

There are a number of reasons why roof work is so very dangerous – not only are they, by definition, high, but they can be in very bad repair without anyone really being aware how bad the situation is as they can become fragile over time, unable to safely support the weight of a person and any load they are carrying. Asbestos (which carries its own unique risks), cement, fibreglass and plastic generally become more fragile with age, and steel sheets may rust. Without knowing the detailed structure of the building, which is more than likely if it is old, it might not be clear where supporting structures are and a worker can easily fall through a weak spot. Roof edges are particularly prone to becoming weak and falls from the edge of a roof are very common. Icy or wet conditions make roof work particularly hazardous and so the weather should always be part of the equation when deciding whether to work on any roof project.

Taking a moment can save lives

A working day can be very busy, with everyone trying to get two days’ work done in one. Whilst sometimes it is possible to cut a few corners without compromising safety, this is absolutely not the case when it comes to working at height. Every stage of health and safety guidelines, method statements and risk assessments should be followed to the letter – cutting corners in safety processes could easily mean that you take the ultimate shortcut out, straight to the ground. Training courses are essential to keep staff safe because if they are reminded on a regular basis that simple H&S procedures could save their lives and those of others, they will soon do them as second nature and everyone will be much safer, whether up high or below them on the ground.

TG20 Scaffolding Guidance Update

The National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) recently released their updated TG20:13 Good Practice Guidance for Tube and Fitting Scaffolding. These new guidelines carry a number of implications for the scaffolding industry, and will change the way scaffolding companies go about their work. From an operational point of view, the TG20:13 guidelines will change many well-established principles of scaffolding, and considerably increases the range of scaffolds that were considered as standard by the previous TG20:08 guidelines.

The following courses are now available from Safe Life at a number of different locations. Both courses take half a day to complete.

TG20:13 FOR SCAFFOLDERS

Who should attend?

Anyone who works with scaffolding as part of their work, including first-line supervision positions such as foremen, supervisors and charge/leading hands. This course is also suitable for scaffolding inspectors.

What are the objectives?

The objective of this course is to promote awareness of changes to scaffolding procedures brought about by the new TG20:13 Good Practice Guidance for Tube and Fitting Scaffolding guidelines.

Course Content

Introduction and Welcome

History of Scaffolding and TG20 Guidelines

Work at Height Regulations

Primary Changes

Working with Compliance Sheets and eGuide

Loading and Working Platforms

Ties and Stability

Compliant Scaffolding

Independent Tied and Free-standing Scaffolds

Working with Towers

Interior Birdcage Scaffolds

Loading Bays

Ladder Access Towers

Chimney Stack Scaffolds

Putlog Scaffolds

Add-on Features

Bridging

Pavement Lifts

Protection Fans

Prefabricated Transoms

Cantilever Platforms

A Final Questions/Test Paper

 

MANAGEMENT TRAINING FOR TG20:13

Who should attend?

Anyone who is responsible for the management, supervision or estimating of scaffold contracts. The Management Training for TG20:13 course is also suitable for scaffold inspectors and industry and safety professionals.

What are the objectives?

The objective of this course is to promote and improve awareness and understanding of changes brought about by the new TG20:13 Good Practice Guidance for Tube and Fitting Scaffolding guidelines.

Course Content

Introduction and Welcome

History of Scaffolding and TG20

Work at Height Regulations

EN Standards

Primary Changes

Working with Compliance Sheets and eGuide

Loading and Working Platforms

Ties and Stability

Compliant Scaffolding

Independent Tied and Free-standing Scaffolds

Working with Towers

Interior Birdcage Scaffolds

Loading Bays

Ladder Access Towers

Chimney Stack Scaffolds

Putlog Scaffolds

Add-on Features

Bridging

Pavement Lifts

Protection Fans

Prefabricated Transoms

Cantilever Platforms

Bespoke Design and the TG20 Design Guide

Implementing TG20:13

A Final Questions/Test Paper

 

Please call us on 01204 548290 / 01204 548292 for locations, dates and prices

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