A life-changing project for the utility sector

   29 April 2022        Blogs

Here at Develop Training, we are committed to using our skills and experience to benefit those less fortunate. That’s why this May, we are sending three of our employees to take part in a life-changing project in Nakuru, Kenya.

Michele Clark, Daryll Garavan and Danny Connor will be travelling to one of the most remote, impoverished areas of Kenya to aid our sector in helping to provide clean water and sanitation to some of the poorest communities and children on our planet.

Working with Derby County Community Trust (DCCT), our employees will not only be supplying utilities that will drastically improve the quality of life for so many school children, teachers and their communities, but will also be training and educating local people to empower and enable them to maintain and sustain the equipment and systems independently for decades to come.

Daryll Garavan, Operational Training Manager at Develop Training, said:

The Kenya Project is a life-changing initiative that will help to improve the quality of living for some of the most unfortunate communities on our planet. With some schools having thousands of pupils and only a handful of toilets, no sewage systems, and no sanitary support for young girls, it is an honour to be able to work on making a difference within these communities and providing a life-long legacy.

Funds and donations for the project

Over the past few months, we have organised a series of fundraising events, and we kindly ask for your support on this project if you are able to make a donation.

Any donation helps and will contribute directly towards purchasing essential supplies and equipment for the Nakuru community.

We will be uploading regular updates about the project’s progress with the Develop Training community, so be sure to keep an eye on our news page and follow us across our social channels @developtraininglimited on Facebook and @DevelopTraining on Twitter, or by searching Develop Training on LinkedIn.

Electric Vehicle Charging Installation Training

   17 February 2022        Blogs

Stuart GilbyStuart Gilby, Operational Training Manager for Estates and Facilities Management at Develop Training, discusses the growing importance of Electric Vehicle Charging Installation for the UK workforce.

The route to becoming a professional EV Charging installer and the benefits of training for employers and employees alike.

Electric Vehicle Charging Installation Training: what you need to know

Electric Vehicle Charging Installation concerns the installing of charging points for electric and hybrid vehicles. Although the actual installation of EV charging points relies on techniques already familiar to practicing electricians, it is required that employees undertake an EV Installation training course to become a qualified installer.

Develop Training’s brand-new Level 3 Award in Domestic, Commercial and Industrial Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installation enables electricians to qualify as an EV charging equipment installer. The two-day Level 3 Award is a City & Guilds accredited course and has been designed to help practicing electricians gain an understanding of the IET Code of Practice for Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment.

Electric Vehicle Installation Training: the benefits

Given the current interest in greener technologies, investment in electric vehicles is rapidly growing, making the sector one of the most exciting, fast-paced markets within the industry. The number of electric and hybrid vehicles on the road – and by extension the number of home and office charging points – has already experienced an influx and is only expected to increase. With a UK ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 under government plans, it becomes more important than ever for electricians to equip themselves to deal with increased consumer demand.

The benefits of undertaking EV Installation training for the workforce and employers are many. For delegates, there is the chance to gain vital skills and knowledge which will enable them to safely install EV charging points in line with current guidance for both domestic and commercial environments. In learning how to install, inspect and test EV charging points, delegates will also be able to future-proof their toolbox of skills, meaning that they will be well-equipped to deal with developing consumer trends.

For employers, there is also the opportunity to gain a share of a rapidly growing market and to future-proof theirs and their employees’ earning potential. The chance, too, to gain a refreshed employee with current and specific knowledge of the legislation, regulation and best practice of electrical installation will also have enormous benefits for workforce competency and confidence.

Who can take the course?

See the route to qualification in the below flowchart, which you can download as a PDF here.

EV Charging Pathway - Flowchart

How can I find out more?

Visit our dedicated EV Charging web page for further information on our training course.

Contact our Customer Service team on 0800 876 6708 or email

Continuing Professional Development

   19 January 2022        Blogs

Matthew GrayMatthew Gray, Head of Operations and Training at Develop Training, discusses the growing importance of Continuing Professional Development in the workplace.

Discover the range of benefits experienced for both employers and the workforce when CPD is prioritised.

What is CPD?

Continuing Professional Development, otherwise known as CPD, is the term used to describe the ongoing learning activities professionals engage in for further development of their skills and competency. Here at Develop Training, we are huge advocates of the importance of CPD, as ensuring a workforce has the correct knowledge and skills to carry out their daily duties safely and efficiently is fundamental.

Why is Continuing Professional Development important?

CPD not only involves ongoing upskilling that helps to keep professionals up to date with the latest and most relevant practices, it is also becoming an increasingly important way for workers to stand out from the crowd and remain competitive as more individuals gain similar professional qualifications.

Additionally, CPD can be an excellent option for future-proofing a business as we see regulations becoming increasingly stricter. Upskilling your workforce and ensuring work is carried out in line with the requirements of both your industry and customers is a great way to build trust and a solid reputation.

As part of our innovative Continuous Learning Loop, we offer every delegate who has trained with us the chance to take part in our Post-Course Assessments (PCAs). We understand that learners may experience an ‘information overload’ when revising for exams with the end goal of achieving their qualification, however we know from experience that constant, steady flows of information are more likely to be remembered and utilised in day-to-day occurrences.

With this in mind, our PCAs ensure an ongoing measure of competency, even after all assessments have been completed. This means that delegates can retain the information taught during their previous learning, in turn meaning that they will be safer and more effective in their roles going forward. The PCAs can be scheduled to suit the individual with options for monthly or yearly assessments, and an automated option for Training Managers and Co-ordinators through our Learning & Assessment Portal.

Our Leadership and Management programmes are also a great option for those looking to expand CPD uptake in the workforce and equip staff in all professional interactions. With modules focusing on subject areas such as emotional intelligence, mental resilience and stress management, every individual in any business will benefit from the self-reflection and improvement techniques taught to perform to their optimum potential.

Prioritise CPD

In summary, it is crucial to prioritise CPD in a workforce during a time when many companies are being fined for unsafe practices, as this will ensure that delegates are given the chance to enhance their skillset and reduce any shortfalls in their knowledge. Ultimately, CPD will result in a more motivated workforce working within a safer environment, a company with diversified service offerings and an increased staff retention rate.

To find out more about our Post-Course Assessments and any other offerings that may be relevant to your industry, contact our Customer Service team on 0800 876 6708 or email

PAT Testing – Common Questions

   08 July 2021        Blogs

As the UK’s leading accredited provider of Compliance, Technical, and Safety training we often get questions from employers and learners in regards to PAT Testing, or as it’s now known, In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.

Numerous changes to the IET Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing (PAT Testing) were introduced in late 2020. The latest edition (5th ed.) is a significant revision with new guidance on the testing requirements and frequency of inspection and testing amongst other aspects.

It affects all business owners and duty-holders who own or maintain electrical equipment in the workplace.

Common questions related to PAT Testing

We spoke to one of our experienced electrical trainers and asked him to answer some common questions around PAT Testing. We’ve also included some of our most frequently asked questions and answers – here are the results:

Is In-Service Testing and Inspection of Electrical Equipment a legal requirement?

Yes, it is covered under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and the Provision and Use of Equipment Regulations to name the two 2 most important pieces of Legislation.

What appliances need testing?

The only appliances that don’t need testing are Medical Equipment which comes under different regulations. Everything else at work should be included in a maintenance regime.

How often should equipment be tested?

This should be done on a risk assessment basis. The 4th Code of Practice had a table which suggested initial frequencies. The 5th code of practice contains an example.

Should power leads be tested separately?

If the appliances have IEC or detachable leads these should be tested separately from the equipment because they could be used on another item.

Does 110v equipment require testing?

Yes it does and any associated transformers. This type of equipment is generally tested most often due to the environment in which it is used.

How long does the City and Guilds 2377-77 certificate last?

There is no end date on the qualification although it is good practice to keep yourself up to date when the Code of Practice changes.

You can find out more about the training course, prices and available dates here.

What does the In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment (PAT Testing) training course cover?

Develop’s training is a City & Guilds accredited course for practicing electricians who complete testing of electrical equipment/portable appliances, or who are involved in the management of such safety inspections.

Delegates will leave with a greater understanding of the legislation and be able to comply with it. They will also be able to produce better documentation, enforce safe working procedures and have better communication with colleagues.

Learners will specifically learn:

  • Requirements of statutory regulation/legislation.
  • Class I, II and III appliances.
  • Fuse rating and visual inspection of cables and connections.
  • Testing of appliances, Earth Bonding, Insulation Resistance, Earth Leakage.
  • Labelling and retention of records.

This course incorporates assessment and certification under the City and Guilds 2377-77 scheme; the Level 3 Certificate for the Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.

How would the change of tenant requirement work within self-catering holiday accommodation?

Equipment in rented accommodation must be kept in a safe condition. Each time a new tenancy is arranged the equipment should be checked.

You will still periodically inspect and test within the risk assessment. Then during the preparation for the next tenant have the cleaners check that the equipment is visually safe. For example, if they saw bare wires on a table lamp they should inform the appropriate personnel. I would also recommend downloading the poster from the IET to show to the cleaners so they know what they should be looking out for.

Does this mean that the previous inspection regimes are now out and the system is to be based on risk assessments?

Yes, but part of the previous regime was you had an amount of time between the tests. If you found equipment was being damaged this would have been decreased. If it had tested okay for years you could increase. The table in the fourth edition was initially for guidance.

I am a landlord of a number of properties, what do I need to be doing moving forward?

Whilst the legislation does not affect the guidance given in the COP, private landlords are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the requirements of the legislation and its impact on electrical equipment in the rented sector.

What maintenance regime should a hand dryer in a toilet be included under?

It can be done under In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment or under the fixed Installation Inspection. As the duty holder it is your decision which one it should come under.

How often would we have to inspect a hand held grinder on a building site?

The Code of Practice no longer has a recommended periodicity so you will have to perform a risk assessment and decide.

Can my handyman be trained to undertake In-service and Inspection of Electrical Equipment?

Anybody can take this course. City and Guilds recommend it is for “experienced electricians” but it depends on the persons level of competence and also what equipment they will be using on site.

What is the best equipment to carry out the tests?

This again depends on your staff level of competence. You can use everything for a low ohm/insulation resistance tester to a simple stop/go machine all the way up to a really complex machine that will give you values that the operator has to interpret.

Book your place on our In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment training course

Course for practicing electricians who complete testing of electrical equipment/portable appliances, or who are involved in the management of such safety inspections.


Confined Space training – why is it important?

   07 May 2019        Blogs

Every year people die as a result of work in confined spaces.

On average 15 people are killed each year in the UK during work in confined spaces and even more are seriously injured. Fatalities are not just confined to those carrying out work in confined spaces, but also those who attempt to rescue trapped personnel without proper confined space training and rescue equipment.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) employers are responsible for ensuring the safety of their employees and others. This is further reinforced by the Confined Spaces Regulations (1997) which are in place to protect staff and others against risks to their health while working in a confined space.

Proper training helps employees remain competent and provides them with the knowledge to spot workplace risks, implement safety controls, write risk assessments and more.

What is classed as a confined space?

Confined spaces are not defined by the physical dimensions of a space but by the hazards that may arise in the space. Therefore, a confined space is defined as any place such as ducts, vessels, culverts, tunnels, boreholes, manholes, excavations, sumps, inspection pits, experimental hutches, tanks, building voids or other similar space in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature, there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of:

  • Serious injury arising from a fire, explosion or excess of oxygen
  • Loss of consciousness arising from an increase in body temperature
  • Loss of consciousness or asphyxiation arising from gas, fume, vapour or the lack of oxygen
  • Drowning arising from an increase in the level of liquid
  • Asphyxiation arising from a free flowing solid or the inability to reach a respirable environment due to entrapment by a free flowing solid

Under this definition, if an area is substantially enclosed and also presents a reasonably foreseeable risk of one or more of the specified risks, then it should be defined as a confined space.

What responsibility do I have as a business?

Every business has a duty of care to its employees to keep them safe while at work, and this is especially important when confined space working is required.

In the UK, the Confined Space Regulations (1997) is the legislation specifically developed for this type of work. The Regulations and Approved Code of Practice L101 (ACoP) must be considered before any attempt to enter a confined space and emphasise the importance of understanding the environment as well as providing staff with a practicable method of completing the work in a safe way.

Confined space risk assessments

The Confined Spaces Regulations (1997) apply when the risk assessment identifies a serious risk of injury. When this happens, the regulations advise workers check to see if the work can be done another way to avoid entry/work in a confined space.

If this is unavoidable, then the regulations advise taking several precautions, including:

  1. A supervisor to remain alert through each safety stage.
  2. The air may need testing to see if it is free from toxicity and flammable vapours. If the air isn’t fit to breathe then utilising breathing apparatus is essential.
  3. Do your workers have the relevant training or sufficient experience?

Key hazards associated with confined spaces

Employee injury, illness and death are real possibilities when working in confined spaces. That’s why proper training is so crucial to the safety of all workers. Some of the key hazards workers may face are:

  • Poor visibility
  • Substances entering through piping or other openings
  • Moving parts of equipment and machinery
  • Temperature extremes
  • Noise
  • Electrical shock
  • Restricted access and egress
  • Risk of drowning
  • Loose and unstable materials
  • Slip, trip, and fall hazards
  • Restricted movement
  • Falling objects

This list is by no means exhaustive as the hazards are numerous for those who work in confined spaces.

How to manage work in confined spaces

Work in confined spaces should always be avoided unless it is essential to do so. However, if the work is unavoidable then those undertaking the work must ensure that they aware of the risks that may occur and that they are capable and trained in the work due to be carried out. Any emergency equipment must have also undergone appropriate confined space training.

Any confined space work should have:

  • A Supervisor – Someone in charge of the job who can ensure safe systems of work are adhered to.
  • Persons Suitable For The Work – Someone who has the appropriate confined space training, experience, build, minimal risk of claustrophobia, and fitness to wear breathing apparatus.
  • Isolation – In all cases a check must be made to ensure isolation of all flows, pipelines mechanical and electrical equipment is effective.
  • Check The Size Of The Entrance – The access to the confined space must be big enough to allow workers wearing all the necessary equipment to enter and exit the confined space easily, and provide ready access and egress in an emergency.
  • Atmosphere Testing – Testing for toxic and flammable gas should be carried out before and whilst in the confined space. Remember to use a gas monitor with appropriate sensors and a fitted oxygen sensor.
  • Provision of Special Tools and Lighting – Non-sparking tools and specially protected lighting may be required. Use low voltage tools if working in metal tanks.
  • Provision Of Breathing Apparatus – Essential if the air inside the confined space cannot be made fit to breathe because of present gases, fumes or vapours or lack of oxygen.

This list is by no means comprehensive and should by no means take the place of any formal confined spaces training.

For more information about the importance of confined space training visit the Confined spaces section of the Health and Safety Executive website at

Confined Spaces training with Develop Training

A wide range of solutions are available for businesses that must operate in confined spaces, including advice on the identification of confined spaces from industry experienced specialists, help and advice with developing safe systems of entry, developing training packages relevant to the confined space entry being planned, and advising on the selection, supply and use of all the necessary equipment.

Everyone should go home safe at the end of the day and this is why DTL offer a full range of comprehensive confined space training.

Click here to browse our full range of confined space training courses. Alternatively, you can give our friendly Customer Service team a call on 0800 876 6708.

DTL also offer bespoke training programmes tailored to your organisations’ specific requirements – simply give us a call to get the ball rolling today!

T Levels – what are they?

   18 March 2019        Blogs

For years, employers have been calling for more vocational training in schools and further education. Now the government has introduced the T Level.

It’s a technical course that is an alternative to A Levels. Like A Levels, students will spend two years after completion of their GCSEs studying for the T Level, but unlike academic A Levels, T Level students will instead study one of a choice of vocational subjects.

There is still plenty of classroom work but the big difference is that each T Level will include at least 45 days on-the-job work placement with a participating employer.

T levels launching in September 2020

The new qualifications are coming in from September next year (2020). Successful participants will earn a single T Level, which the government says will be equivalent to three A Levels. The idea is that they will then go on either directly into skilled employment – quite possibly with the employer who provides them with work experience – or to further study.

Work experience or further study?

That further study could be in an academic environment (three A Levels will get you a university placement, so a truly equivalent qualification should offer the same). But it’s very likely that many students who have done well in the practical/academic mix of the T Level would go on to a higher apprenticeship. So it’s easy to see employers who have bought into the idea of apprenticeships as a great way to tackle the skills shortages in key industries doing the same with the T Level.

T Level are being designed on the same standards as apprenticeships

In fact, T Levels are being designed on the same standards as apprenticeships, and as with apprenticeships, employers are working with academic institutions to develop the first programmes.

The idea with the T Level is that it gives students an in-depth flavour of a particular industry or industries – at 1,800 hours total study time, they’re a bigger commitment than other technical qualifications – whereas apprenticeships are more likely to suit school-leavers who have a clear idea of the career they want to pursue.

The link between T Levels and career progression

As with apprenticeships, it’s important to put away assumptions about the kinds of careers that T Levels will support. There are already a large number of subject areas that will start coming on offer next autumn, including professional services such as accountancy and creative industries. Click here to visit the Gov.UK website and find out more about T Levels.

Subject areas

At Develop Training, we’re pleased to see subjects on the list that will potentially allow our customers in the utilities and construction sectors to provide vocational training to T Level students, as they already do with apprenticeships.

Here’s the current list of subject areas:

  • accountancy
  • agriculture, land management and production
  • animal care and management
  • building services engineering
  • catering
  • craft and design
  • cultural heritage and visitor attractions
  • design, development and control
  • design, surveying and planning
  • digital business services
  • digital production, design and development
  • digital support and services
  • education
  • financial
  • hair, beauty and aesthetics
  • health
  • healthcare science
  • human resources
  • legal
  • maintenance, installation and repair
  • management and administration
  • manufacturing and process
  • media, broadcast and production
  • onsite construction
  • science

A quick guide to apprenticeships

   06 March 2019        Blogs

Here’s our quick guide to apprenticeships and where to find out more…

If you’re someone thinking about becoming an apprentice, a family member or an employer, the most important thing to realise is that apprenticeships have changed a lot. So, before you read any further, forget your existing ideas about what apprenticeships are like, and prepare to discover the new opportunities now available.

For a long time, young people and their families have seen universities as the pinnacle of further education, but that’s changing. Fewer young people are choosing to go to university, partly because of higher tuition fees, but also because they realise that a degree is not necessarily a passport to a job.

Apprenticeships, on the other hand, provide a direct path to a career, and better still, you earn while you learn. And those careers are by no means confined to the traditional factory-based jobs that used to be filled by apprentices. You can even do an apprenticeship in management.

High-quality apprenticeship opportunities

There are lots of high quality apprenticeship opportunities available at all levels around the country, in a huge variety of sectors, including aviation engineering, nursing, finance and policing. At Develop Training, we help employers in the country’s vital utilities – that’s gas, electricity, water and energy – to keep Britain running. They can’t do that vital work without highly skilled people, and we are running apprenticeship programmes for big-name employers to help to fill that skills gap. Our successful apprentices are well-qualified and almost always go on to well-paid roles.

Get paid to train

As an apprentice, there are lots of opportunities. Being paid while you go through your training is a big attraction for many young people, and some older ones too because apprenticeships aren’t just for young people.

Receive a recognised qualification

When you complete your apprenticeship, you receive a recognised qualification, which will help you to find work elsewhere if you need to. But, in fact, most apprentices go on to full-time jobs with the employer they trained with.

Classroom and practical-based training

Apprentices get personal support in the company that takes them on as well as guidance from external teachers. Alongside programmes where you learn on the job, you will probably do some classroom and practical training with an approved provider such as Develop Training before you qualify.

Receive paid holidays and student discounts

As an apprentice, you’ll get at least 20 days’ paid holiday a year and you’ll still be entitled to an NUS card entitling you to discounts on everything from rail travel to entertainment.

Find apprenticeship opportunities

The government has launched a new campaign called Blaze A Trail to tell everyone about the opportunities. Watch out for the events and advertisements and take a look at the website

Employer benefits

For employers too, apprenticeships offer significant benefits.

Large employers pay the apprenticeship levy, a kind of tax on their payroll, but they can recoup this by investing it in apprenticeship programmes. It’s been slow to take off, but more employers are now taking it up.

Employing apprentices saves on recruitment costs, and it’s also been shown to deliver a more motivated and loyal workforce, who have been trained to work the way that your company operates. Of course, a loyal, well-motivated and well-trained workforce will deliver better service so as well as saving on up-front employment costs, apprentices also deliver a measurable effect on your bottom line.

Apprenticeship programmes run by Develop Training Ltd

Apprenticeships are clearly good news for apprentices themselves and their employers, and we’re proud to be playing our part in their growing popularity. We’ve been successfully running apprenticeships in leadership & management, gas, water, smart meters and electrics for a number of years with some of the biggest names in the utilities industry. Click here to find out more about all our apprenticeship programmes.

Dangers of Asbestos to Construction workers in the UK

   06 February 2019        Blogs

Asbestos kills more people in the UK every year than there are fatalities on the roads. That’s around 5,000 tradespeople – 50 a week – who die because of past exposure.

But it is not just a problem for older and retired workers. Anyone can encounter asbestos today, in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000, and it is still one of the biggest occupational risks to construction workers in Britain. Asbestos may also be found in the soil where the precautions are different than those used in buildings.

Asbestos is deadly and is consequently a high priority for the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and employers have a legal obligation to ensure that anyone at risk is properly trained.

What is asbestos and how was it used in construction?

The substance, which was extensively used in construction before 2000, releases potentially-lethal fibres into the air if it is disturbed. When inhaled, these begin to cause damage that can develop into life-changing and fatal diseases, including mesothelioma (a type of digestive cancer) and lung cancer. Two other serious conditions triggered by inhaling asbestos fibres are asbestosis and pleural thickening, both of which cause shortness of breath. People who smoke are especially at risk.

Asbestos is a natural fibrous rock that was widely used within homes and other buildings in the UK from 1950 during the post-war building boom until the mid-1980s, and it was still being used until the end of the 1990s. Its history as a material used by humans goes back thousands of years, the earliest known use being to strengthen earthenware pots. It became more widespread during the Industrial Revolution.

Dangers of asbestos

People have known about the dangers for a long time. The negative health effects were first noted in 1899, and the first documented death due to asbestos was just a few years later. In the 1930s, a government report highlighted the dangers, leading to the first regulations about its use. Eventually, its use was banned in many countries and regions, including the European Union. It has been replaced as an insulator in homes by fibreglass, invented in the 1930s, and more commonly in Europe, by mineral wool and glass wool. Meanwhile, companies that used to produce asbestos cement have invented new recipes, replacing asbestos with organic fibres.

Before it was phased out, asbestos was valued for its insulating properties. It is very effective at keeping heat in and cold out. It’s also fire resistant and protects against corrosion. Because of this, it is likely to be found in many construction materials and fittings, including ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and spray-on coatings.

Asbestos disposal

Asbestos is usually disposed of in landfill sites as hazardous waste. Demolishing buildings that contain large amounts of hazardous materials often means taking them apart. Alternatively, the building has to be cleared of asbestos piece by piece before it can be blown up or knocked down. Red Road Flats in Glasgow, where huge quantities of asbestos were used in wall panelling, were an example of this kind of operation.

Asbestos in soils

As with asbestos in buildings, the substance can also be extremely hazardous when disturbed in the soil. Finding it beforehand is a challenge for site managers. The asbestos may be present as fragments of insulation materials visible to the naked eye or as micro fibres requiring scientific tests to confirm their presence. What is more, not all asbestos looks the same. There are three main kinds – blue, brown and white – technically known as Crocidolite, Amosite and Chrysotile.

Health & Safety

Workers at risk need the skills to conduct proper risk assessment and to implement a range of other steps depending on the nature and scale of the problem. These could include ensuring that licensed personnel carry out remediation work, informing the Health and Safety Executive of the incident and providing protective equipment including respirators. Dealing with asbestos in soil can be a major operation. Disposing of waste and decontaminating operatives may be required, and air monitoring might have to be set up on site or near to neighbouring homes.

Whether it is extracted from a building, the soil or elsewhere, British health and safety regulations stipulate that asbestos material has to be removed to a landfill site via an approved route at certain times of the day in specially-adapted vehicles.

So, how do you prevent yourself or your employees coming into hazardous contact with asbestos?

The first step recommended by the HSE is to ensure that workers always consider the possibility that the property or plant they are working on may contain asbestos.

The HSE states: “Before the start of maintenance, refurbishment, demolition or any other type of construction work, employers must identify the presence of asbestos as part of their risk assessment. The owners or managers of non-domestic premises have a duty to manage asbestos. This involves identifying and recording the location and condition of any asbestos. This record must be made available to anyone carrying out work to help them to manage the risks of exposure to themselves, their employees and others. You should ask to see a copy of this to help you assess the risks and decide on any control measures you may need to put in place.”

Specialist training

To support employers and workers to protect themselves against the dangers of asbestos, Develop Training Ltd have developed two specialist courses – Asbestos Awareness and Asbestos Awareness in Soil and Made Ground. Both of our training courses raise awareness of the risks and how to avoid contamination.

View the courses:

Checklist for safe system of work in confined spaces

   23 August 2017        Blogs

Anyone, in any industry, can be exposed to working in confined spaces – sometimes without even realising it. It’s important to mitigate the risks associated with confined spaces, which can be fatal.

Here’s our 20-point checklist for producing a safe system of work in such conditions:

1. Supervision

The degree of supervision should be based on the findings of the risk assessment. In some cases an employer might simply instruct an employee how to do the work and then periodically check that all is well, for example if the work is routine, the precautions straightforward, and all the arrangements for safety can be properly controlled by the person carrying out the work. It is more likely that the risk assessment will identify a level of risk that requires the appointment of a competent person to supervise the work and who may need to remain present while the work is being undertaken.

It will be the supervisor’s role to ensure that the permit-to-work system, where applicable, operates properly, the necessary safety precautions are taken, and that anyone in the vicinity of the confined space is informed of the work being done.

2. Competence for confined space working

Workers must have adequate training and experience in the particular work involved to be competent to work safely in a confined space. Training standards must be appropriate to the task, and to the individual’s roles and responsibilities, so that work can be carried out safely. Where the risk assessment indicates that properly trained individuals can work for periods without supervision, you should check that they are competent to follow the established safe system of work and have been provided with adequate information and instruction about the work to be done.

3. Communications

An adequate communication system must be in place and should enable communication:

(a) between those inside the confined space; (b) between those inside the confined space and those outside; and (c) to summon help in case of emergency. Whatever system is used, and it can be based on speech, tugs on a rope, the telephone, radio etc, all messages should be able to be communicated easily, rapidly and unambiguously between relevant people.

Consider whether the communication methods are appropriate for any workers wearing breathing apparatus. The communication system should also cover the need for those outside the space to raise the alarm and set in motion emergency rescue procedures.

Equipment such as telephones and radios should be specially protected so that they do not present a source of ignition where there is a risk of flammable or potentially explosive atmospheres.

4. Testing/monitoring the atmosphere

Prior to entry, the atmosphere within a confined space should be tested to check the oxygen concentration or for the presence of hazardous gas, fume or vapour. Testing should be carried out where knowledge of the confined space (e.g. from information about its previous contents or chemicals used in a previous activity in the space) indicates that the atmosphere might be contaminated or to any extent unsafe to breathe, or where any doubt exists as to the condition of the atmosphere. Testing should also be carried out if the atmosphere was known to be contaminated previously, was ventilated as a consequence, and needed to be tested to check the result.

5. Gas purging

Where the risk assessment has identified the presence or possible presence of flammable or toxic gases or vapours, there may be a need to purge the gas or vapour from the confined space. This can be done with air or an inert gas where toxic contaminants are present, but with inert gas only where there are flammable contaminants. You can only use inert gas for purging flammable gas or vapour because any purging with air could produce a flammable mixture within the confined space. Where purging has been carried out, the atmosphere must be tested to check that purging has been effective, and that it is safe to breathe, before allowing people to enter.

6. Ventilation

Some confined spaces require mechanical ventilation to provide sufficient fresh air to replace the oxygen that is being used up by people working in the space, and to dilute and remove gas, fume or vapour produced by the work. This can be done by using a blower fan and trunking and/or an exhaust fan or ejector and trunking (provided that there is an adequate supply of fresh air to replace the used air). Fresh air should be drawn from a point where it is not contaminated either by used air or other pollutants. Never introduce additional oxygen into a confined space to ‘sweeten’ the air as this can lead to oxygen enrichment in the atmosphere that can render certain substances (e.g. grease) liable to spontaneous combustion, and will greatly increase the combustibility of other materials. Oxygen above the normal concentration in air may also have a toxic effect if inhaled.

7. Removal of residues – cleaning

Cleaning or removal of residues is often the purpose of confined space work. In some cases residues will need to be removed to allow other work to be undertaken safely. Appropriate measures should be taken where risks from the residues are identified. For example, dangerous substances (such as hazardous gas, fume or vapour) can be released when residues are disturbed or, particularly, when heat is applied to them. The measures might include the use of powered ventilation equipment, specially protected electrical equipment for use in hazardous atmospheres, respiratory protective equipment and atmospheric monitoring. The cleaning or removal process might need to be repeated to ensure that all residues have been removed, and may need to deal with residues trapped in sludge, scale or other deposits, brickwork, or behind loose linings, in liquid traps, in joints in vessels, in pipe bends, or in other places where removal is difficult.

8. Isolation from gases, liquids and flowing materials

Confined spaces should be securely isolated from ingress of substances that could pose a risk to those working within the space. An effective method is to disconnect the confined space completely from every item of plant either by removing a section of pipe or duct or by inserting blanks. If blanks are used, the spectacle type with one lens solid and the other a ring makes checking easier. When disconnection cannot be done in this way one alternative is a suitable, reliable valve that is locked shut, providing there is no possibility of it allowing anything to pass through when locked, or of being unlocked when people are inside the confined space.

9. Isolation from mechanical and electrical equipment

Some confined spaces contain electrical and mechanical equipment with power supplied from outside the space. Unless the risk assessment specifically enables the system of work to allow power to remain on, either for the purposes of the task being undertaken or as vital services (i.e lighting, vital communications, fire fighting, pumping where flooding is a risk, or cables distributing power to other areas), the power should be disconnected, separated from the equipment, and a check made to ensure isolation has been effective.

10. Selection and use of suitable equipment

Any equipment provided for use in a confined space must be suitable for the purpose. Where there is a risk of a flammable gas seeping into a confined space and which could be ignited by electrical sources (e.g a portable hand lamp), specially protected electrical equipment should be used, for example a lamp certified for use in explosive atmospheres. Note that specially designed low-voltage portable lights, while offering protection against electrocution, could still present ignition sources and are not in themselves safer in flammable or potentially explosive atmospheres. All equipment should be carefully selected bearing in mind the conditions and risks where it will be used. Earthing should be considered to prevent static charge build-up. In addition to isolation, mechanical equipment may need to be secured against free rotation, as people may tread or lean on it, and risk trapping or falling.

11. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)

So far as reasonably practicable you should ensure that a confined space is safe to work in without the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory protective equipment (RPE). PPE and RPE should be a last resort, except for rescue work (including the work of the emergency services), because its use can make movement more difficult, it can add to the effects of hot temperature and can be heavy. Your risk assessment may identify the need for PPE and RPE, in which case it should be suitable and should be provided and used by those entering and working in confined spaces. Such equipment is in addition to engineering controls and safe systems of work.

12. Portable gas cylinders and internal combustion engines

Never use petrol-fuelled internal combustion engines in confined spaces because of the fumes they produce and the ease with which petrol vapour ignites. Gas cylinders should not normally be used within a confined space unless special precautions are taken. Portable gas cylinders (for heat, power or light), and diesel-fuelled internal combustion engines are nearly as hazardous as petrol-fuelled engines, and are inappropriate unless exceptional precautions are taken.

13. Gas supplied by hoses and pipes

The use of pipes and hoses for conveying oxygen or flammable gases into a confined space should be controlled to minimise the risks. It is important that at the end of every working period, other than during short interruptions, the supply valves for pipes and hoses should be securely closed before the pipes and hoses are withdrawn from the confined space to a place that is well ventilated. Where pipes and hoses cannot be removed, they should be disconnected from the gas supply at a point outside the confined space and their contents safely vented.

14. Access and egress

You should provide a safe way in and out of the confined space. Wherever possible, allow quick, unobstructed and ready access. The means of escape must be suitable for use by the individual who enters the confined space so that they can quickly escape in an emergency. Suitable means to prevent access should be in place when there is no need for anybody to work in the confined space. The safe system of work should ensure that everyone has left the confined space during ‘boxing-up’ operations, particularly when the space is complicated and extensive (for example in boilers, cableways and culverts where there can be numerous entry/exit points).

15. Fire prevention

Wherever possible, flammable and combustible materials should not be stored in confined spaces that have not been specifically created or allocated for that purpose. If they accumulate as a result of work they should be removed as soon as possible and before they begin to create a risk. Where flammable materials need to be located in a confined space, the quantity of the material should be kept to a minimum. In most cases flammable materials should not be stored in confined spaces. However, there may be special cases where this is necessary, for example in tunnelling. In these cases they should be stored in suitable fire-resistant containers. If there is a risk of flammable or potentially explosive atmospheres, take actions to eliminate the risk such as removal by cleaning, effective use of thorough ventilation, and control of sources of ignition.

16. Lighting

Adequate and suitable lighting, including emergency lighting, should be provided. For example, the lighting should be specially protected if used where flammable or potentially explosive atmospheres are likely to occur. Other gases may be present that could break down thermally on the unprotected hot surfaces of a lighting system and produce other toxic products. Lighting may need to be protected against knocks (e.g. by a wire cage), and/or be waterproof. Where water is present in the space, suitable plug/socket connectors capable of withstanding wet or damp conditions should be used and protected by residual current devices (RCDs). The position of lighting may also be important, for example to give ample clearance for work or rescue to be carried out unobstructed.

17. Static electricity

Exclude static discharges and all sources of ignition if there is a risk of a flammable or explosive atmosphere in the confined space. All conducting items, such as steel trunking and airlines, should be bonded and effectively earthed. If cleaning operations are to be carried out, assess the risks posed by the use or presence of high-resistivity materials (such as synthetic plastics) in and adjacent to the confined space.

18. Smoking

The results of the risk assessment may indicate that it is necessary to set an exclusion area for smoking to a suitable distance beyond the confined space, for example where there is a risk of explosion.

19. Emergencies & rescue

The arrangements for emergency rescue, required under regulation 5 of the Confined Spaces Regulations, must be suitable and sufficient. If necessary, equipment to enable resuscitation procedures to be carried out should be provided. The arrangements should be in place before any person enters or works in a confined space. A major cause of death and injury in confined spaces incidents is due till-conceived attempts to save others who have collapsed or ceased to respond. You should not enter a confined space without ensuring you will not also be affected.

20. Limited working time

There may be a need to limit the time period that individuals are allowed to work in a confined space, for example where RPE is used, or under extreme conditions of temperature and humidity, or if the confined space is so small that movement is severely restricted. For a large confined space and multiple entries, a logging or tally system may be necessary to check everyone in and out and to control duration of entry. There may be additional risks to consider when entry to a confined space is required. These could include the integrity of the confined space (e.g. corroded structure, cold temperatures, loss of rigidity when a tank is drained, trip hazards, noise etc). While these are not specific risks or limited to confined spaces, they should still be considered as part of the general risk assessment and tackled as far as reasonably practicable.

Our in-depth whitepaper examines the risks associated with confined spaces and how best to mitigate them.  Download your copy today.

Working in confined spaces: An employer’s duties

   08 August 2017        Blogs

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places a duty on employers to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments for all activities when working in Confined Spaces.

Risks posed by infrequent, but necessary, activities need to be given as much consideration as those of day to day procedures and practices.

For work in confined spaces, the risk assessment should include consideration of:

  • The task
  • The working environment (e.g. the general condition of the confined space, including contents, residues, contamination, oxygen levels, physical dimensions etc., and potential ingress of substances from outside)
  • Working materials and tools (i.e. use of chemicals, sources of ignition or gases, heat generation, electricity)
  • The suitability of those carrying out the task
  • Arrangements for emergency rescue

The person carrying out the risk assessment must have knowledge and experience of all the relevant processes, plant and equipment so that they understand the risks and can devise necessary precautions. More than one person may need to be involved, and employees and their representatives should also be consulted.

Where the risk assessment identifies a risk of serious injury through confined space working, then the Confined Space Regulations 1997 apply, even if the specified risk is controlled.

The Regulations place the following duties on an employer:

  • to avoid entry to confined spaces
  • if entry to a confined space is unavoidable, follow a safe system of work
  • put in place adequate emergency arrangements before the work starts

Avoiding entry

The priority must always be to try to avoid workers having to enter or work in a confined space. Employers should consider whether the work is really necessary and, if so, whether the space or working practices can be modified to eliminate the need for entering the space. For example, could the work be done from outside or by remotely operated equipment?

Safe system of work

If confined space working cannot be eliminated, the employer must design a safe system of work for the tasks to be undertaken. Priority must be given to eliminating any sources of danger before establishing precautions. Any actions taken to mitigate a risk must be monitored to ensure they remain effective throughout the work.

Where there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of serious injury, a permit-to-work system may be required. This provides a formal written way of recording and checking authorisations, precautions, test results and emergency arrangements. It is important to recognise that a permit-to-work system supports rather than replaces the safe system of work, monitoring and auditing that the system is working as intended. It does not in itself make the job safe.

Any safe system of work must consider the suitability of the people who will carry out the work. This should include physical and mental attributes, such as physical build, strength or pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma or claustrophobia, as well as competence in the specific tasks to be undertaken.

Emergency arrangements

The Regulations stipulate that no one should enter or work in a confined space unless there are suitable emergency arrangements in place. These must include procedures for raising the alarm and getting the workers out, and the provision and use of rescue and resuscitation equipment. Procedures for shutting down or making safe any plant or equipment being used in the confined space must also be considered.

Many fatalities and injuries occur when workers impulsively attempt to rescue trapped or injured colleagues and are overcome by the same conditions as the original victims. It is vital that everyone understands what should be done in the event of an emergency and who should undertake any rescue operations. Employers must ensure rescuers are properly trained, protected and equipped to deal with any potential emergencies that could arise.

Download our in-depth whitepaper on Confined Spaces

The above article is taken from our detailed whitepaper, which looks at working safely in confined spaces.

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