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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.

Electrical – Working live or dead?

   07 June 2016        Blogs

Work on live or exposed conductors should rarely be permitted as many accidents occur when working on equipment that could have been isolated. However, sometimes there is no other option but to work live and in those circumstances, three conditions must be met for the work to continue.

Is it unreasonable for the work to be done dead?
Is it reasonable for the person to be at work near the conductor while it is live?
Have all suitable precautions been taken?

Where work cannot feasibly be done dead

There will always be circumstances where work cannot be completed dead because of the difficulties it may cause. Such as:

  • Difficulty commissioning a complex control cabinet without having it energised
  • Monitoring the performance of a control system
  • Tracing a malfunction
  • Connecting a new service to an existing main without disconnecting a large amount of customers
  • Switching off a system that may cause disproportionate disruption and cost, such as the supply to a railway track

Plan the work

Many electrical accidents are a result of failure to plan ahead. Effective planning should take into consideration the management, supervision, implementation and completion of the work, covering the following areas:

  • The work itself
  • The hazards associated with the work
  • The competence of those doing the work
  • The level of supervision necessary
  • Any suitable precautions that need to be taken
  • The potential for the work at hand to change

Risk assessments

If the work has been decided to be unfeasible whilst dead, a risk assessment is necessary, and it must be carried out by someone with comprehensive knowledge of the work at hand and the means of controlling the risk. These might include:

  • Temporary insulation, protective enclosures and screens
  • Temporary barriers to keep unauthorised people away from the area
  • Ensuring that adequate clearances are established and maintained
  • Making sure all workers are trained and experiences
  • Providing lighting and a clear working space
  • Using robust and insulated tools
  • Storing all tools correctly
  • Avoiding lone working
  • Using correct PPE at all times

Our courses

Develop Training courses are ideal for competent persons, authorised persons, engineers and managers, with responsibility for electrical high voltage and low voltage systems. Our courses reflect the latest methods, practices and legislation and provide hands-on experience on specialist equipment.

Our experienced teams can also provide consultancy on safe systems of work and create bespoke programmes aligned to business procedures. Courses are suitable for all commercial sectors, as well as healthcare, including the National Health Service and the Ministry of Defence.

Develop Training offer a large range of electrical courses for people of all skill-sets.

National Water Hygiene Card – All you need to know

   24 March 2016        Blogs

Water is an often overlooked, but completely crucial part of the UK’s infrastructure. Ensuring that we have safe, uncontaminated water led to the introduction of the National Water Hygiene Card; commonly referred to as the ‘Blue Card’.

What is it?

Back in 2006, at the request of Water UK, the National Water Hygiene Scheme was created. Its aim was to consolidate all of the different training schemes into one all-encompassing qualification that would be suitable for the entire industry. This spans across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

You should think of water as a food product and therefore the public expect their water supply to have been treated properly so that it doesn’t cause health problems.

Who needs the card?

The card is issued by the Energy and Utility Skills Register (EUSR), and on their recommendations, anyone working with clean water, especially those working in the production and maintenance of drinking water supplies should have an up-to-date blue card.

This includes any person working on service reservoirs, pumping stations, treatment works, wells, spring and boreholes and working on the network of water mains.

Why do you need the card?

The card is an important way of ensuring all water industry workers are well-trained in keeping our water systems clean and uncontaminated, in compliance with Water UK standards.

The objective of the training is to provide a basic understanding of how important the maintenance of good hygiene standards is whilst working with potable water. The emphasis will be placed on your own personal responsibility towards keeping our water systems safe.

Whether you are a contractor or direct employee of a water company, the same qualification will be needed.

What will be covered?

Several areas will be covered under regulation, emphasising the importance of personal hygiene and identification of potential sources of contamination, this includes Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the need for clean boots.

Other areas that are explained is the potential for contamination through vehicles, tools, fuel and even pets.

How do you get one?

In order to be up-to standard with the nationally agreed level of training and awareness you must first answer a standardised health questionnaire to confirm that you are not carrying any water borne diseases.

Then, after a short training course, you will be issued a card from the EUSR and become registered; this card will last for three years.

What DTL can do

DTL can offer a half-day National Water Hygiene Course that, once completed, will register you to receive the blue EUSR registered water hygiene scheme card. The course is classroom based with a written test paper.

The NRSWA Act – Cutting disruption on the roads

   21 March 2016        Blogs

The value of streetworks in the UK shouldn’t be underestimated. They keep our country’s roads safe, our traffic flowing and maintaining the supply of our basic living essentials, such as gas, electricity and running water.

The New Roads and Street Works Act (NRSWA) was introduced in 1991, providing a compulsory framework for streetworks activities.

About the act

The NRSWA was created to ensure that anyone who works in the streetworks industry is qualified for the activities being carried out. It requires organisations to ensure that work to install, renew, maintain and inspect underground apparatus in the street is controlled by competent people.

Its aim is to ensure that you are compliant with relevant government legislation, it has three main objectives:

  • To ensure safety.
  • To minimise inconvenience to people using a street.
  • To protect the structure of the street and the apparatus in it.

Operatives

To meet the requirements of the NRSWA, organisations must ensure that operatives are on the site when work is in progress. There must also be a supervisor to supervise the streetworks. A supervisor qualification does not qualify the holder to work as a qualified operative or vice versa.

In order to qualify for working on the highway both operatives and supervisors must be registered with the SWQR, who will issue you with a SWQR card; permitting you to work legally on the highways.

Operatives that are involved in any of the following areas will require NRSWA training:

  • Locating underground apparatus.
  • Setting up equipment for works.
  • Carrying out excavations.

At all times, any street works site must have at least one qualified supervisor appointed to the site who can oversee the works.

Why it is important

If road works are deemed to violate the NRSWA, an organisation can receive heavy fines. As we recently discussed, as part of the Government’s £15 billion Road Investment Strategy, the Department for Transport has announced that Utilities and Councils could be fined £5,000 for each day roadworks are left unattended at weekends.

The NRSWA aims to instil three key principles to streetworks:

  • Accurate Information: Whereby notice periods are given as far in advance as possible.
  • Communication: Where regular communication takes place between road works authorities and undertakers.
  • Flexibility: The need to balance conflicting interests between road users and the undertakers’ customers.

The future

More than ever, the efficient co-ordination of streetworks is one of the most important aspects of the industry, benefitting authorities, contractors and road users.

What Develop Training can offer

Selecting the right New Roads and Street Works Act (NRSWA) training course or combination of courses to enable operatives and supervisors to work safely and effectively on public highways is straight forward with Develop Training.

As one of the country’s leading accredited providers of compliance, technical and safety training, you can trust in our capability to devise and appropriately update a comprehensive range of NRSWA training courses and reassessments, each of which complies with the Streetworks 1992 Traffic Management Act.

Why “Sheep Dipping” is wrong for training management

   22 February 2016        Blogs

Nationwide, many employees are still being subjected to the outdated training practice of ‘sheep dipping’. We’ve all been there, stuck in a room sitting through compulsory training, feeling like your time would be better spent on the job. But what is ‘sheep dipping’ and why is it wrong as an approach?

For those who don’t know, ‘sheep dipping’ is a process used by shepherds in which they dip their sheep into insecticide to protect them from infection. In business, it is a process by which employees are grouped together to be refreshed or re-invigorated by attending set training courses, more commonly known as “refresher” courses. In some companies, staff members may be “refreshed” once or twice a year, depending on the subject of the training.

Generally, it involves taking staff out of the workplace and into a classroom type environment for at least a day, if not several, and by doing so, employers expect their staff to return to work with a host of skills that are ready to be implemented, safe in the knowledge that each staff member has a piece of paper certifying they are now compliant.

Many organisations take this approach because it’s easy to create, straightforward to administer and cheap to implement. But there are inherent problems with this method.

The ‘sheep dipping’ approach is flawed for several reasons:

Part of the flock – The nature of ‘sheep dipping’ courses means that on an individual level, there is little support. Employees enter the room like a flock and are treated as such. By nature, people respond differently to learning and all have different requirements. And, of course, people have differing levels of ability, and what often happens is the trainer tailors the content for the median average ability of the room – leaving those at either extreme unengaged. There can be little or no adaptation to meet individual needs.

The content of the courses – In general, because these courses tend to remain static, their content often isn’t current. Every year, new skills and capabilities will likely be needed and it is important to keep these skills up-to-date to keep an advantage over competitors.

Little input from management – The Line Manager often has little input into the ‘sheep dip’; usually just ticking the box afterwards to confirm that training has taken place. This creates limited support on the job and can seriously hinder the success of any employee actually applying the training. This creates a dangerous cycle, where anything learnt is forgotten and there will be a need to be refreshed again in six months. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Measuring the results – These kind of training programmes are rarely reviewed or analysed, which poses the question of how these companies are measuring the effectiveness of their training? Sure, the relevant departments may have a tick next to every relevant employee’s name, but how are they ever going to find out their return on investment? And in between ‘sheep dips’, how can you be sure the employee remembers everything they were taught? If it’s health and safety training they’ve received, doesn’t that strike you as potentially dangerous?

Employees – ‘Sheep dipping’ can be highly demotivating for some people. Unlike sheep, your workforce are all individuals, they are resourceful, capable of soaking in knowledge relevant to them. A training programme should stem from a desire to improve knowledge in any given area and should increase each employee’s value to the company.

What we can do

Develop Training have recently introduced our new Code of Practice, Continuous Learning Loop and Online Learning & Assessment Portal. These have been created specifically to offer customised training programmes that are undoubtedly more effective than the ‘sheep dipping’ approach.

They ensure the focus remains solely on the learning that is relevant to your business, offering a unique method of delivery that is tailored on an individual level, to suit the needs of your staff.

Our Continuous Learning Loop concentrates on pre-course e-assessment, a blended approach to training (incorporating classroom-based teaching, e-learning and practical ‘hands on’ tuition), and post-course reinforcement.

This approach to training provides our clients with practical training courses that are matched to each learner, while post-course reinforcement identifies if the learner has committed the content to long-term memory or if further training is required.

The benefits of management development training

   28 July 2015        Blogs

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” Richard Branson.

Anybody with an account on LinkedIn will have seen the above sentiment at one point or another when someone in their network decided it was time to share another inspirational quote with the rest of their professional peers.

In this case, however, Richard Branson’s words will resonate with many of us.  As workers, we want to feel we’re developing in our careers, and we often want the support of our employers in order to do so.  If we feel we’re not developing at the pace we’d like to be, it can be frustrating and will prompt some to investigate job opportunities elsewhere.

The aim of businesses management development training is to increase productivity of all your employees by motivating and educating managers. As a manager’s confidence and ability increases, so does their ability to implement business strategies, control internal conflict and train their team to perform better.

There are many benefits to management development training, which include:

Increased productivity by creating a skilled workforce

By effectively training your managers, you position them better to train their own staff, creating a workforce that is fully aware of their own job responsibilities as well as their expectations.

Reduced workplace conflicts

Training in conflict resolution provides managers with the tools to run a department more efficiently. This type of training can increase confidence and effectiveness when dealing with angry, irate or distressed individuals. A manager with good interpersonal skills can help increase understanding between colleagues and smooth out workplace misunderstandings.

Reduced staff turnover by creating a motivated workforce

Management development training can directly impact staff morale, as we all feel more secure in a position where the business is spending money on personal growth and development.

“Leadership and management training is a vital element of any business operation.” says Imran Akram who heads up the management development programme at DTL, “Leaders who understand the best ways to train, motivate and manage are better positioned to run their teams efficiently, resulting in greater productivity. Your leaders will make things happen.”

At Develop Training, we’re experts in delivering management development courses. To find out more information about these training courses click here or call us on 0800 876 6708.

How to choose the right training methods

   22 May 2015        Blogs

Choosing the right training delivery methods can sometimes be a daunting process. There are lots of things to consider: budget v’s price; location; number of learners; downtime; outcomes. With many options provided by training providers, deciding on the right training techniques for your workforce can be difficult.

In this blog post, we examine all of the available options to help you make more informed decisions in the future.

Key things to consider

1. What are the desired learning outcomes?

According to many, training “processes can be grouped in to the following phases; needs analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation”. Taking this in to account, the most logical place to start when deciding on any training intervention is to establish the training needs and agree on the learning outcomes expected from the training. This can help you to focus your attention on the options that will give you the best returns.

2. Who are you training? 

When deciding on the right training methods for your learner, it is important to understand who they are and how they respond best to training; what are their job roles?, and what are their preferred learning styles? For example, technical employees are likely to respond well to hands on training where they get to try out the new skills they have learned. On the other hand, office based staff may prefer the classroom training route.

The learning styles of these individuals are also an important consideration, as different people learn in different ways. This is particularly the case for different generations. In a report written by GoToTraining it states “For the first time in modern history, we have four generations of workers in the workplace. The conflicts of these generational dynamics immediately change how we deliver learning or training to these different groups”. Millennials for example like structure and technology, and so, are likely to learn best from interactive sessions using various technologies, whereas the Baby Boomers may prefer more traditional forms of training.

3. How many learners do you have and where are they based?

The number of employees requiring a certain training programme will ultimately affect your choice of training techniques. If you only have a handful of people to train, then the most cost effective method is to book them on to open courses offered by your training provider. Larger numbers can warrant a group booking delivered at the providers centre or onsite at your premises. This means that your employees can be trained together and training can often be tailored to your business.

One of the main issues we find Develop Training clients face is downtime. There is pressure on learning and development professionals to ensure training doesn’t impact on the operation of the business. As a result, elements such as the location of the training versus the location of the learners should also be considered. To reduce downtime it is recommended that learners book on to their closest open course, or for larger groups, some providers can bring the training to you.

4. What is your budget?

Your training budget is an essential cog in the decision making process. In a survey carried out on Develop Training’s clients, 20% said budget constraints are a key issue for them. When you have all of the answers to the above questions, you can look at how to effectively use your budget to achieve the desired outcomes. For example, if you have a group of employees to training, you can speak to your training provider to see if the course can be delivered on your site. This will reduce the costs in terms of the travel and accommodation expenses.

Available training methods

Now that you have considered all of the above elements, you are ready to select the most appropriate training delivery methods. Below we look at some of the most popular options:

1. Open courses

Open courses are set course dates usually delivered at your training provider’s centre. Anyone can book on to these courses and they are usually the best training technique if you only have a handful of people to train on a particular subject. Dependant on the subject, courses can involve both classroom teaching and practical sessions.

2. Group courses

If you have a larger number of employees to train, then a group course is something to consider. Courses are often priced at a set group rate and with the option to hold the course at the training provider’s venue, or sometimes at your own premises, this route is very cost effective. It also allows your employees to attend training together, which can act as a good team building exercise.

3. Bespoke courses

Bespoke courses are tailored to the individual requirements of your business. Going down this route will enable you to tailor your training to your specific learning outcome, company policies, budget and location. If you have an issue or training need that is specific to your businesses, then these are the training delivery methods for you.

4. E-learning

E-learning is learning via electronic media, usually via the internet. It allows individuals to learn at a location of their choice. It is very costs effective, reduces downtime, and removes the need to travel. Having said this, e-learning removes the personal and team building elements created by face to face training. It also doesn’t allow for practical sessions where learners can practice their skills. When considering this option, you should think carefully about the learning outcomes and learning styles of your employees.

5. Blended learning

“Blended learning is a common sense concept that results in great learning success…In a nutshell, it means using more than one training technique to train on one subject” (Training Today). Using blended learning, you can craft your course to the learning styles of the employees you are training, and by using a mix of methods; you can ensure that all learners effectively retain the information. You will receive the greatest return on your investment from this training delivery method, which could involve a mix of e-learning/e-assessment and face to face interventions.

Conclusions

As you can see, there are lots of things to consider when choosing your training methods and a variety of options to pick from. Making the right decision can be difficult, so it is recommended that you work with a training provider such as Develop Training to help guide you.

Develop Training has years of experience supporting clients with their training needs, and fully understands the pressures faced by companies across a whole host of industry sectors. The company offers a wide range of training methods, and its dedicated Curriculum Team is investigating new learning technologies and techniques to give you access to solutions that will provide you with the returns you are looking for.

The benefits of NVQ qualifications

   10 September 2014        Blogs

With 50% of the workforce set to leave the energy and utilities industry over the next 10 years, employers need to plan how they are going to fill the skills gap they leave behind.

Industry leaders are already coming together under the Employer Ownership of Skills scheme to help fill this training and skills void.

NVQ’s are one solution to this impending issue, and in this blog we highlight some of the key things you need to know about this route to training your workforce for the future.

The facts

  • NVQ’s are a work-oriented vocational qualification. Unlike traditional qualifications of the past, they can be tailored to suit the learner’s needs and are not entirely classroom based. There is no final examination and you don’t get a grade on completion. Instead NVQ’s focus on the learners skills, knowledge and behaviour within the workplace.
  • NVQ’s are created using nationally defined occupational standards. The learner’s ability to do a competency based task is assessed against performance criteria set by the national occupational standards. The assessments are recorded using a range of techniques and prior learning experiences, which compile the evidence used to meet the qualifications compilation of units.
  • NVQ’s can also be completed over longer periods of time using a unit based approach which is now available on the Qualification Credit Framework (QCF). This route allows learners to have a flexible approach to learning and assessment, and in some cases, can boost success rates as unit completion provides learners with a better sense of achievement, by completing the NVQ in manageable chunks.
  • The aim of an NVQ qualification is to recognise the skills and competences of learners in the workplace.

The benefits of NVQ qualifications

Employers will benefit from:

  • Improved staff performance and motivation.
  • Improvements in the quality of service to customers.
  • A workforce developed in the skills relevant to the business.
  • Greater productivity, performance and competitiveness as the workforce will be motivated and happy, as the organisation has invested in their future skills.
  • Lower staff turnover.
  • A workforce who is up-to-date with the latest legislation and best practice.

Employees will benefit from:

  • A clearer understanding of their responsibility within their organisation.
  • The opportunity to develop new skills, and accredit their knowledge. Bringing new ideas to the workforce. Whilst earning while they learn.
  • One to one support from an experienced professional.
  • Being highly motivated as the organisation has invested in them and their future.
  • A qualification benchmarked against national performance standards of work-based, on the job learning.

An NVQ qualification will help grow the expertise in your business and fill current and future skills gaps, which is currently stunting growth and hampering recruitment of new talent. An estimated 50% of current employees will have left the Gas and Water sector by 2023, due to its ageing workforce. To plug that gap, 208,000 new people will be required within 10 years. NVQ’s are one solution to this issue.

Who we have trained

Over the last 5 years, Develop Training has trained over 5,500 individuals via the NVQ route, specifically Network Construction Operations (NCO) programmes for companies such as AMEC, Balfour Beatty, Skanska and tRIIO.

Join others and invest in your employees…

10 things to know about Streetworks Refresher Training

   02 July 2014        Blogs

Since 2011, anyone working on English highways is subject to streetworks refresher training under the New Roads and Streetworks Acts 1991 (NRSWA Training). The NRSWA legislation requires operatives and supervisors to be reassessed every 5 years to make sure they maintain their level of skill and understanding since they registered or last re-registered.

Top 10 things you need to know

Here are the top 10 things you need to know about Streetworks Re-assessments:

  1. Streetworks Refresher Training ensures that operatives and supervisors work legally, safely and efficiently on the highways, maintaining their level of skills and understanding. Refresher training will help operatives and supervisors to understand the latest NRSWA legislation, and any changes to practices on the highway, that may have occurred since their last training.
  2. In order for operatives and supervisors to work legally on the Highways, they must register with the Streetworks Qualification Register (SWQR) and to do so they need to hold the up to date Streetworks qualification. As SWQR state: “Any request for re-registration, for an individual working within the English legislative area, must be accompanied by the relevant re-assessed qualification certificate issued by an approved awarding body”.
  3. To keep qualifications and NRSWA cards up to date individuals must be reassessed every five years to show that they are professionally competent to work on English Highways.
  4. Individuals must register with SWQR between 6 months before expiry, and 6 months after expiry.
  5. Operatives and Supervisors will be required to have successfully completed re-assessments for the units of competence that they already hold before they can re-register for their new NRSWA card.
  6. If they do not register in time, they will need to retake the full unit, which will result in additional time spent away from work and extra cost.
  7. Streetworks Refresher Training can only be taken in units that the operative or supervisor already holds. For new areas of work, the individual must attend the full streetworks training course for the units they wish to complete, before they can register with SWQR.
  8. Prescribed qualifications for various types and combinations of work are set out in the Streetworks (qualifications of supervisors and operatives) (England) regulations.
  9. Reassessment takes the form of multiple choice question papers, on each unit the candidate wishes to renew.
  10. Develop Training have a range of streetworks refresher training for operative and supervisors, covering all units of competence. We will be happy to discuss your training requirements with you.

Refresher requirement

Streetworks Refresher Training is required every 5 years, to update skills and knowledge and make sure that you are working in accordance with NRSWA regulations. Once refresher training is complete you will be able to re-register on the Streetworks Qualification Register (SWQR) and work legally on the highways.

Professional accreditations

NICEIC approped assessment centre
CABWI Awarding Body
City & Guilds
Energy & Utility Skills
ILM Approved Centre
IOSH
Lloyds ISO 9001:2015
Achilles UVDB
Water Jetting Association