Cutting workplace accidents

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01 Sep 2016

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Inadequate instruction and training provision is one of the common contributing factors in many workplace accidents when work equipment is involved, writes Croner Safety Consultant, Mubin Chowdhury.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) require employees to receive adequate training including “training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail, and precautions to be taken”. Clearly, there is a need to determine just what training is required and how often this should be refreshed. There are no set requirements for this and as the employer you must determine exactly what training is needed. The key to this is to utilise the information provided by the equipment supplier and build this into a risk assessment for the use of the particular work equipment where adequate instruction and training will form part of the risk control measures required. Guidance to PUWER notes that it is not possible to detail what constitutes “adequate training” as requirements will vary according to the job or activity and work equipment, etc. Many factors will have to be taken into account to determine the extent of training necessary in a particular situation. It is recommended that the employer takes the following action.
  • Evaluate the existing competence (knowledge, skills and experience) of the employee/s to operate the full range of work equipment that they will use.
  • Evaluate the competence they need to use or supervise the use of work equipment.
  • Train the employee/s to make up any shortfall between their competence and that required to carry out the work.
In respect of refresher training, again, there are no set requirements. Factors that might determine the need for refresher training include:
  • a significant change in working practice
  • skills decay, for example, if the equipment is only used periodically
  • an accident/incident using the equipment
  • any legal or good practice requirements.
All such factors should be highlighted in the risk assessment for the work activity involving the work equipment. Written instructions should be provided with the training and include the information provided by manufacturers or suppliers of work equipment such as instruction sheets or manuals, instruction placards, warning labels and training manuals. It can also include in-house instructions and information from training courses.

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