The HSE's speedy prosecution in June 2008 of a North Wales company where improperly guarded machinery caused injuries to two employees shows that it is far from backward when it comes to enforcing safety legislation – and rightly so. In a statement, the HSE urged employers to look again at the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98) to ensure that their safeguarding measures comply with the law.
While employers would like to see these sorts of accidents eliminated from the workplace, the problem is that there is very little training available in critical areas of safety such as CE Marking and PUWER.
To address this, Laidler Associates is now offering a University Certificate in Professional Development (UCPD) in Machinery Safety. Claimed to be the first of its kind in the world, the course marks the first step in Laidler's expansion of its training services, and sees the use of the company's virtual reality technology to put a fully functioning machine within any training room.
Chris Norris, marketing manager at Laidler Associates, comments: "This latest HSE prosecution saw the North Wales employer plead guilty to two separate offences under the PUWER Regulations, with one machine having no physical guarding and another being operated without adequate safety devices. One employee received hand lacerations, and a second received lacerations and fractures to both hands after they were drawn into a danger area.
It is all very well for the HSE to remind employers that they have a duty to fully understand PUWER and other safety regulations, but to date there has been very little in the way of effective training in these areas. How can you adequately assess a risk and take appropriate safety measures without effective safety training, and how else can you be sure, if there ever were an accident, that you had taken all possible actions to prevent it?
"Competence is the key word in any aspect of health and safety. But demonstrating competence in machinery safety, let alone proving competence in any kind of court case, is next to impossible when there may be no relevant qualification for the task being carried out."
While generic health and safety qualifications exist that include a small element of machinery safety, the new UCPD in Machinery Safety is a focussed qualification. The format provides five days of taught contact time, covering the following:
- Risk Assessment
- Introduction to Work Equipment inspections (PUWER) and CE Marking assessments
- The application of standards
Days four and five provide practical sessions where delegates are taken through a PUWER inspection and a CE project using checklists generated by the Laidler Risk Management software.
The course includes two short assessments, and delegates will then have additional material to work through before carrying out a PUWER inspection and a CE Marking assessment on a virtual machine. These will form the main part of the course assessment and must be completed and submitted in order to receive the UCPD.
Importantly, the UCPD comes with 30 university credits that can be used towards additional formal qualifications. Courses will be run across the UK with dates and venues to be confirmed.
Now celebrating its tenth successful year in the field of safety consultancy, Laidler is using the UCPD course to launch an expanded suite of training services that will include free one-day workshops and other generic courses such as COSHH and manual handling.
To register your interest in any of these courses, please email .