Refresher Training

Whilst refresher training has never technically been a legal requirement the Health and Safety Executive has always stressed the benefits of regular refresher training. With time peoples skills can deteriorate due to bad habits or potentially due to skill fade if they don’t operate the machinery very often.

As a company and in line with ITSSAR requirements none of our ITSSAR cards or certificates have an expiry date they simply state that the HSE recommends refresher training at regular intervals. We have considered adding a recommended refresher date but even that isn’t always as easy as it sounds as that can differ depending on the individual circumstances.

We are often asked what the refresher period is and that really depends on the individual and the working environment. If someone passes a test then hardly operates a machine then we would recommend a more regular refresher’s but if they operate the equipment every day for hours at a time then the refresher could be less often.

Like our previous post regarding honesty the benefit of a refresher is not simply a piece of paper it is an important factor in maintaining good operators and keeping accidents and risks down and shouldn’t be seen as an inconvenience more of a benefit.

We are currently contacting a lot of our clients who either haven’t completed refreshers or may have gone elsewhere to remind them of the benefits of these refresher courses. The surprising thing is how many companies either didn’t know their operators were due for refreshers or didn’t realise the benefits of this refresher training.

Refresher training is an important factor in the ongoing safety of plant operations and should be seen as a benefit not a burden.

Honesty is the best policy…..

We are very lucky at Didac that it is very rare that training ever gets cancelled when we arrive on site and for the most part when it does it is for an unavoidable reason (candidate sickness, equipment break downs etc). However recently we seem to have had a few issues that have caused training to be cancelled when our trainer has arrived at the site that were beyond our control and that were entirely preventable.

During the booking process it is stressed by our sales team that experience levels must be accurately communicated as there are minimum duration’s laid down by our accrediting bodies (ITSSAR and NPORS). However, it is not unusual to find out that candidates do not actually have the experience claimed (as one of our trainers experienced recently). Two of his three experienced telehandler operators had never in fact even sat on a telehandler or even any other kind of lift truck before! Problems like this only cause issues on site for us, the trainee’s and ultimately for the clients themselves.

Sadly, these issues seem to be caused occasionally because some companies see that the duration’s are based on experience and will exaggerate their trainees experience to try and reduce the amount of training days and therefore ultimately the cost. As I have always stated we at Didac provide quality training and which leads to good trained operators and if people try to skimp on training time we cannot achieve that level of quality. The more training time we get the more productive the training ultimately becomes.

If we arrive on site and the experience is not what we have been led to believe it will invariably lead to the need for additional days training or in some cases cancellation of the entire training.

The definitions of experience from NPORS are:

Novice                                Little or no experience

Experienced                      More than 6 months regular operating experience

Refresher                           Successfully completed formal training within the last 5 years

Assessment Only             Previously trained, highly competent operator, operating on a regular basis

The other issue we occasionally get is a lack of facilities or even in some cases unsafe or even illegal equipment. Again, strict equipment and facilities information is sent out to clients at the enquiry stage which lays down the minimum requirements that we and the accrediting bodies expect. If those facilities are not provided we cannot conduct the training to the required standard and restricted training or certification is the best we can do (assuming we can even do that!)

One recent issue was where we were expected to train three novice telehandler operators in an area that wasn’t even big enough to turn the machine round, there were also no lifting heights available. Unsurprisingly the course was cancelled on arrival suddenly leaving us with a trainer with no work for the next four days.

Quality training needs the right facilities and the right starting point, make sure you give your candidates the best possible chance of not just passing a test but becoming good confident equipment operators by giving us the correct information right at the start. The interesting aspect to this is when the client quibbles about the fact that they will still be charged for the day if not the whole course as a result of circumstances beyond our control and entirely of their doing.

I have stated many times if you want quality training and good operators get in touch, if you don’t care about the training and just want a ‘piece of paper’ we probably aren’t your best option.

 

The Accreditation Conundrum

One of the most often asked questions to our office concerns the validity of our qualifications and it seems there is still much confusion as to the different accrediting bodies and the different cards available. For example, ITSSAR, NPORS, RTITB, AITT, IPAF, ALLMI, CPCS and LEEA as well as numerous others.

There are so many different cards and certificates out there it can be difficult to keep up! The Health and Safety Executive have previously stated that there is no definitive training scheme in their opinion and providing that training is to a recognised standard then that’s good enough for them.

At Didac we are dual accredited to ITSSAR and NPORS who are both founder members of the Accrediting Bodies Association (ABA) along with RTITB and AITT. Both of our accreditations meet the HSE’s requirements and should be accepted on any UK site, however some sites do still insist on certain card schemes.

For example, Build UK is an organisation consisting of many of the major construction companies in the UK and historically they have always insisted on the CPCS card scheme for their sites. This has been very limiting to operators as the associated costs are high and the standard of training is not necessarily any better than the more affordable alternatives.

In June 2016 Build UK announced that NPORS cards would be accepted on their sites as well as CPCS cards and this was a very welcome change to their previous stance. The proviso is that the NPORS card must carry the CSCS logo to be accepted on the site. To have the CSCS logo on the NPORS card a basic site safety CSCS touchscreen test must have been previously undertaken by the candidate.

Their statement is detailed below:

“The National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS), the scheme recording plant operators’ training and assessment, has also been awarded the CSCS logo after successfully completing their audit. The scheme will now operate two card systems, one for construction related occupations which will carry the CSCS logo, and one for non-construction related occupations, which won’t.

All NPORS cards for construction related occupations now require the operative to attain an industry relevant NVQ. Transitional arrangements are being introduced for operatives whose NPORS card does not have a CSCS logo:

  • A blue Competent Operator card will be available for operatives who have achieved an S/NVQ
  • A new red Trained Operator card will be available for operatives who do not hold an S/NVQ, and will be valid for two years. During that time operatives will be required to achieve the S/NVQ for their plant occupation and move on to the blue Competent Operator card.

The changes to the CCDO and NPORS scheme not only meet CLC requirements but also give main contractors the confidence that cardholders are trained to the highest standards.”

Sadly, we have experienced problems as it seems that not all sites have been aware of the changes to the Build UK stance on the acceptable cards.

We can also offer in-house unaccredited training which also meets all your legal requirements and is delivered in the same way as the accredited training. The only drawback of this training is that it limits the certification to your own company and site.

If you have any questions on the different accreditations you can email me at [email protected] and I’ll do my best to answer them.

More details of our accreditations can be found at www.ITSSAR.org.uk or www.NPORS.com