“Has Health and Safety Training gone too far?”
After the recent Drilling and Sawing, IACDS World competition and the presentation taking place in Las Vegas in February 2009 I was amazed at the quality and the diversitility of the contracts that took place, by all the entrants of the competition.
As I was one of the judges from England along side Jerry Hare of Jerry Hare Diamond Drilling, we both read and discussed all the jobs very closely and in detail. With the complex jobs undertaken there was shown an immense skill and attribute demonstrated by the operators. Over the years, world wide we have trained our operators to a highly skilled level. In my opinion we are one of the most skilful trades in the construction industry.
Bricklayers lay brick, plasterer plaster walls, floor layers lay floors and other trades follow their skills set. What I am trying to say is that our skilled operators are expected to wire saw, wall saw, floor sawing, hand saw, chain saw, diamond drill into concrete, stone, brick and many other materials. Some of our operators will have skills to operate Remote Controlled Demolition machines. The machinery to carry out these operations cost a considerable amount of money and need trained operators to perform the job required and to prevent damage or Health and Safety situations occurring.
We are now also offering our customers floor preparation and polishing of concrete and companies are now training their operators to use this equipment. Another operation and burdening on the operators is collection of concrete slurry and disposal of it in a green and environmentally manner, which is being demanded, by our clients and governments.
In the early days our work was classed as unskilled labourer jobs and thanks to all the associations and manufacturers around the world, upgrading the training levels for our operators, our work has been recognised as one of the premiere leading trades on site.
Again thanking the associations and the manufacturers for a vast increase in interest in health and safety to our operatives and to the use of our equipment and machinery. All the associations around the world have training and safety courses and take these very seriously in deed. This has resulted in fewer accidents happening on site whilst using diamond drilling and sawing equipment. In Britain major accident have only occurred when construction companies have hired in the equipment with no trained operators and have used their own unskilled operator.
The association has tried very hard to stop companies using this equipment without a qualified operator and stopping the plant hire companies hiring the equipment to operators without sufficient training. I do not know if this has happened in other countries and I would be interested to know myself and if this is happening please could you let the IACDS know.
On the other hand my personal opinion is that Health and Safety in Britain has gone too far. It seems to be stopping simple things in life, that we take for granted, that one could do. It is a wonder that we do not have to produce a risk assessment and a method statement and hours of training and records to just get out of bed in the morning. It is a wonder that some government department has not thought of this, perhaps this does occur in other countries. Seriously I am a supporter of Health and Safety training and the skills training of the operators so that when jobs come along of a complicated manner that you can feel confident that you are able to send them on to jobs to carry them out safely because of the high standards of training that they have received.
With D-Drill and the association one operation, which we are trying to take on board, is the GPR (radar) of concrete. We found that we do need a very highly trained operator who is somewhat used to reading images on computers to a fine degree, when most operators are more hands on and find it difficult to work with computers everyday. Although, not to degrade the operators some companies have been able to find operators within their organisation that can, with training, interpret the information correctly.
The IACDS will be holding seminars during Bauma on Friday 23 April, 2010 by three main manufacturers on different subjects such as wire sawing, drilling, demolition and other subjects.
Best wishes for the coming year and KEEP TRAINING!!
Peter White, President, IACDS