As restrictions start to ease across the UK, employers are being reassured that PASMA training is safe to do and widely available. If cards have lapsed over lockdown or new workers are using scaffold towers without one, now is the time to book them on a course
As we strive for normality, tower safety remains as important as ever.
No one wants their worker to become a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistic. But every single day in Britain last year, an estimated 99 people suffered non-fatal falls from height at work, resulting in the loss of around 572,000 working days (Labour Force Survey 2019/20). On top of that, 29 people sadly died, making falls from height the leading cause of workplace fatalities (RIDDOR 2019/20).
PASMA, the recognised authority on scaffold towers and podiums, has a range of training courses designed to drive down accident numbers by helping people use these access products safely.
The courses are delivered by a network of accredited training centres who all have to follow PASMA’s guidance on training during the COVID-19 pandemic, even when that means cutting class sizes. It sets out the areas they must consider to satisfy themselves that they can do it safely. For example:
- Using ‘one-person towers’ for training where possible
- Making face coverings mandatory
- Facilitating and enforcing social distancing
- Using e-learning for the theory section of the course
- Extra cleaning and hygiene measures
- COVID-19 risk assessments
- Follow all applicable government guidance
PASMA training continued during even the tightest restrictions this year, with accredited training centres and instructors keeping courses COVID-secure for everyone who needed them, especially in sectors like construction, national infrastructure and maintenance.
Now, as we take strides towards normality, pandemic protocols are second nature for training centres, who each used PASMA’s guidance and government regulations to make a plan for their own facility.
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, Director of 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.”