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TRAINING SCANDAL EXPOSED IN US

Compulsory H&S training scheme exposed as a sham

The New York Daily News has exposed the failings in what is supposed to be 10 hours of mandatory construction health and safety training. It was found that the $125 course took just over two hours, “factoring in time spent waiting for the instructor to show and breaks to grab a beer”.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) course is intended to be a 10-hour session on the basics of job safety and is designed to combat the record number of construction deaths (19) in New York City in 2008. Anyone working on a project 15 storeys or higher is required to prove they have attended the course.  However, industry experts say the training classes are often ‘a joke’. OSHA officials say they monitor the training sessions on a random basis although ” it is an ongoing challenge … to try and maintain quality”.

Comment: The UK is considering mandatory training for construction workers. The New York experience suggests that great care would be required to ensure that the courses are suitable, carried out by competent training organisations and monitored closely to maintain quality. In addition, training is probably even more essential for those working on smaller projects – certainly those less that 15 storeys high!

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