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NEW STANDARD FOR SUPERVISOR TRAINING

Major UK Contractors raise the bar for site supervisor training

The UK Contractors Group (UKCG) has announced that from from 1 January 2010 member companies will adopt a new supervisor training standard.

The change will enable supervisors working on UKCG sites to demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills to supervise the workforce effectively.

This standard will apply to all civils, construction and engineering service activity and cover front line supervisors responsible for putting people to work and briefing workers on safety.

Stephen Ratcliffe, UKCG Director said they had: “identified the need to tighten up the competence of supervisors to help improve health and safety performance. This standard is the means by which members will tackle the issue. There are a number of training courses available that will deliver training to the standard. However, it is not our intention to recognise or accredit particular courses. It will be down to individual members to decide on appropriate training. What we have done today is announce a common standard which all our members will adopt.”

Supervisors will be required to have the ability to demonstrate two key training criteria:-

  • knowledge of health and safety – gained at a construction specific course of at least two days duration. The course content minimum requirement is specified.
  • skills to be an effective supervisor – of their workers including attendance at training event which includes understanding of behavioural issues, leadership and effective intervention skills.

The training must include delivering effective presentations (e.g. tool box talks), role-play, have a form of testing, and successful candidates must be issued with a certificate to demonstrate a suitable standard has been achieved.

Comment: This will be an excellent development when coupled with good safety mangements systems, active board leadership and positive workforce involvement.

First line supervisors can be ‘stuck in middle’ between uninterested managers and an uninvolved workforce. Providing supervisors with the knowledge and personal skills to exert influence in both directions is vital if the construction industry is to move to the next level of H&S performance.

Developments of this nature usually trickle down the system so that similar action is taken by smaller contractors and on smaller projects. Given the disproportionate number of deaths on smaller projects we must hope this happens sooner rather than later.

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