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Quarry sector pioneers new 'Working at height' training

Health and safety training specialists Instant Training have developed a unique EPIC-approved training programme for Tarmac Quarry Products, the first in Europe to cover all elements of working at height specifically for the quarrying industry. The course comprises five key elements: safety harnesses, ladders and steps, aluminium access towers, mobile elevating work platforms, and a general introduction on health and safety good practice.

Tarmac asked Instant Training to devise the programme as part of a wider initiative to unify, monitor and maintain competence levels achieved by employees throughout the company's health and safety training. A prime requirement of the programme was that it should allow for the continual audit, by Tarmac and EPIC, of training material, training instructors and trainee assessment.

'In the past, working at height training available to the quarrying industry was somewhat piecemeal,' said Andy Crawshaw, Tarmac Quarry Products' health, safety and environmental manager. 'This training programme brings all aspects of working at height into one fully co-ordinated package which meets a consistently high standard of training and allows us to routinely assess the competence of the trainers and trainees.'

Tarmac health and safety advisor Ken Bradley added: 'We're interested in output, and in training with built-in assurances that people coming out of it are competent, enlightened and empowered. We believe this programme pioneers a new, much-needed standard in working at height training for the quarrying sector.'

As a bespoke package, the course makes exhaustive reference to health and safety regulations and risk assessment issues specific to the quarrying industry. Unlike existing training programmes, it gives more emphasis to work at height problems especially relevant to quarrying, such as the hazards associated with moving, levelling and setting up mobile towers and powered platforms on irregular ground conditions.

The comprehensive three-day course provides a balance between theory and practical instruction, with the overriding focus on building high levels of understanding, skills and competence. Two days of the training are completed at one of Instant Training's nine centres in England, Scotland and Wales, but in line with Tarmac's specific needs, this off-site training is preceded by a day's training in the office in the form of a CD-ROM self-instruction package on alloy towers. Using the latest interactive computer graphics, this guides the user through the principles of alloy tower assembly, setting a series of construction tasks to test their knowledge and bringing those less familiar with working at height procedures up to speed before attending the course.

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