PASMA training remains safe and widely available as limitations begin to ease across the UK. If lockdown cards have expired, or if new workers are utilising scaffold towers without one, now is the moment to enrol them in a training.
Tower safety is more vital than ever as we seek for normality.
Nobody wants their employee to end up as a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistic. However, an estimated 99 persons died in non-fatal falls from height at work in the United Kingdom last year, resulting in the loss of approximately 572,000 working days (Labour Force Survey 2019/20). Furthermore, 29 persons were killed, making falls from great heights the primary cause of workplace fatalities.
Training during COVID-19
PASMA offers a variety of training courses aimed at reducing injury rates by teaching users how to use these access products safely.
The courses are offered by a network of accredited training centres, which are all required to follow PASMA's training guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it means reducing class sizes. It outlines the factors people must evaluate in order to be certain that they can accomplish it safely.
As an example:
- Whenever possible, use 'one-person towers' for training
- Making face coverings mandatory
- Facilitating and enforcing social separation
- Using e-learning for the course's theory section
- Additional cleaning and hygiene precautions
- COVID-19 risk assessments
- Comply with all applicable government regulations.
PASMA training continued this year despite even the most stringent limitations, with licenced training centres and instructors keeping courses COVID-secure for everyone who needed it, particularly in industries such as construction, national infrastructure, and maintenance.
As we move closer to normalcy, pandemic protocols have become second nature for training centres, which each used PASMA's instructions and government laws to develop a strategy for their own facility.
Several PASMA's training members explained how things have evolved at their facilities in the last year.
Steve Booker, from Kentec Training, explains:
"We had a safety consultant visit our London and Kent training centres and implemented his recommendations straight away. Masks have been mandatory for all delegates since last summer and after initial shortages last year, we could swim in hand sanitiser now! Our centres are deep cleaned every morning, we’re doing temperature checks on delegates and our staff are having regular lateral flow tests, as extra precautions. We also contact delegates 48 hours before the course to check they haven’t had any symptoms or been in contact with anyone who has. We’re doing everything we can to continue our COVID-secure training environment because we know how much our clients depend on PASMA training being available whenever their workers need it."
Michelle Warren from Warren Access adds:
"With us, almost all theory sessions are done remotely now, so delegates complete 50% of the course from home. For the practical session they then come to either our Newcastle or Huntingdon centre, which are both kitted out with track and trace QR codes, sanitising stations and 2m social distancing signage. We’re also offering courses for individual workplaces, to avoid bringing strangers together unnecessarily. Sometimes these take place on site. Work at height always involves an element of risk and we’re well used to mitigating these on PASMA training courses. For us, the risk of spreading COVID-19 is just one more risk to address."
Stephen Kane from Ridgeway in Northern Ireland says:
"We completely re-arranged our training rooms and demonstration areas to allow 2m social distancing between delegates and the instructor. We also changed the registration process to add temperature checks and COVID questionnaires before training starts. On arrival, every delegate is given a mask and hand sanitiser along with their training materials. We’ve found people are happy to follow our new rules, which everyone realises are there to ensure they can train in a safe environment."
Gillian Rutter, Director of Skyward Training and Chair of the PASMA Training Committee said:
"It’s essential that anyone working on scaffold towers is trained to do it safely and that's why PASMA training continued throughout the latest lockdown. In addition, PASMA ran webinars and launched an online 'COVID-19 Support Hub', which keeps tower users up to date with the latest news. Our members have shown that they can adapt quickly to the evolving circumstances and keep courses running safely. The added precautions might make courses look a little different, but they’re still delivering all the same high-quality content you expect from PASMA training."
To register for a course, contact your local PASMA training centre: https://pasma.co.uk/directory/find-training-centre
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