While there are challenges ahead for the sector, which is set to grow by a quarter of million workers in the next four years, the construction industry will provide more opportunities for British workers, as the number of migrant workers falls, CITB’s annual Migration Survey showed.

Among the findings, 41% of employers will look to increase the skills of British workers, almost a third (30%) will provide more permanent jobs for Brits, a quarter (24%) will increase minimum salaries, and 16% will look to take on more local apprentices.

While employers reported a fall in the number of migrant employees, there was a rise in the number of self-employed migrants working for the industry.

While only 16% of companies expect that issues with migrant workers not remaining in the UK will impact their firm, almost three-quarters (72%) expect it to impact on the sector, with a quarter (27%) anticipating a serious impact.

Supporting the sector

CITB will support the sector in meeting the challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit with investments over the next five years including 28,000 taster experiences of construction, 19,000 on-site experiences to help prepare students, working with Government on a new construction traineeship to get more FE learners into jobs and apprenticeships and increasing the number of apprentices completing their training.

While the report showed that most employers reported no change in their number of migrant workers over the last year, 13% reported a fall in employing them, and only 2% a rise.

The largest fall (41%) was among those employing non-UK workers indirectly (ie. self-employed). Just over a tenth of the construction workforce are migrants, with the proportion falling from 10.7% in 2018 to 10.2% – a drop of about 5% in two years – with most coming from the EU.

The number of employers dependent on migrant workers has fallen slightly (from 15% in 2019 to 13%). While those directly employing migrants (ie. as staff) fell by 11%, the number of firms indirectly employing migrants rose by the same number.

One concerning trend was the lack of understanding among companies of how post-Brexit settlement empowers them to retain staff, with less than one in ten (9%) saying they understood it well.

The chief reasons for this included a primary focus on Covid-19, the belief that their firm will not suffer due to a low number of migrant workers, and waiting for further clarity on Brexit and preparing to act afterwards.

A ‘critical time’

Steve Radley, director of strategy and policy at CITB, said: “Construction faces a number of challenges over the next few years, among them declining numbers of migrant workers, as Covid has seen more workers leave the country and with a new tighter migration system.

“Employers expect to provide more jobs for British workers but for some occupations and employers, this is already proving challenging with order books growing, particularly in housing and infrastructure.

“The government has made some important commitments such as reforming FE, introducing construction traineeships and increasing access to unused apprenticeship levy funding.

“It’s vital that we work together to ensure these deliver the skills construction needs. It’s also critical that employers understand the new points-based system and have confidence it will respond quickly where there are pressures on key skills.”

As reported on PCBToday

There is growing evidence in business of the returns from investment in workplace safety and health.  For example the International Social Security Association, estimates a 120 per cent dividend, and the ratio is even higher for return-to-work programmes for people following injury or illness.

Organisations that invest in health and safety are seeing a positive impact on their workers’ effectiveness and a range of business benefits, such as a positive, caring work culture, increased productivity and an enhanced reputation. These employers are also mitigating the risk of huge costs to their organisation and society as a whole of poor health and safety at work – a recent report estimated the total cost to society of a workplace fatality in Britain at nearly £1.7 million.

In 2019–20, IOSH partnered with market research specialists YouGov to survey mainly small and medium-sized businesses, excluding any sole traders, on their approach to ensuring their managers have the knowledge, skills and understanding to manage their teams safely.

Participants agreed (96 per cent) that: Line managers are important in ensuring the people they directly line manage are safe and healthy, in the workplace.  That being said one in five participants (19 per cent), and predominantly SMEs (companies with up to 250 employees), said they had no form of health and safety training at all for their line managers.

There is a natural hierarchy in organisations that gets more defined the more employees an organisation has and co-workers at each tier of a business have an important role to play in creating work culture that protects its people. In smaller organisations (companies) directors and or managers can find themselves fulfilling many management roles and responsibilities across this hierarchy.

A truism however in all organisations, no matter their size, is that ‘responsibility for risk’ lies with the decision makers.  Those who decide on workplace design, the equipment provided, how it is to be used (systems of work) and how well people are to be educated to do the tasks safely (safe people), are managers. It is fundamental: the decisions of every manager influence the safety, health and welfare of all. They must take ownership for this.  The final accountability lies with Directors, so organisational structure and delegated authorities are an important aspect of this picture.

Whether they are a director, middle manager or first line supervisor, all are taking daily decisions that affect the health, safety and welfare of employees, contractors, suppliers, customers and even the public.  These are not the same responsibilities but related to the responsibility of their role and hierarchical position.  The nature of their responsibility is different for each.  To be efficient and effective they all require a knowledge about health and safety risk, and its control.  Get it wrong and it’s costly.  Get it right and it can bring brand, reputation, productivity and even investment benefits.

Competence is the key to running any business well or performing in any role with confidence and skill.  Knowledge results from experience, but too often it’s the school of hard knocks that delivers this learning and when it comes too health and safety that usually means someone has been harmed, which is morally unforgivable.  Good health and safety training can boost knowledge to a level that not only facilitates prevention of accidents but also drives business benefits.  The problem is that a lack of health and safety knowledge reduces confidence and often results in needlessly stringent controls being implemented that can introduce unhelpful bureaucracy and diminish business performance. The right training can help find the happy balance ……….. Delivering a safe operation with healthy employees is simple when you know how…

Here at Goldcross Training we are specialists in the delivery of the IOSH Managing Safely course so why not give us a call to see how we can help you improve your health and safety knowledge and assist you in driving your business forward.

You can read the full IOSH/YouGov report here.

As we enter our third period of ‘lockdown’ we thought it might be useful to refresh your memories with regard to ‘remote learning’ after all most schools are now delivering it.

When the Coronavirus pandemic first hit the country back in March 2020 most of industry including vocational training establishments and schools came to a grinding halt.  Over the months that followed, whilst some restrictions were lifted many remained in place limiting face to face contact and tuition.  As a result, what was at the time a relatively little used or known concept, ‘remote learning’ became increasingly popular, particularly as a result of improvements in video conferencing services such as Zoom and MS Teams which facilitated the capability.

Goldcross Training were leaders in this field and having embraced the technology available we rapidly developed systems in order to allow us to provide our customers the opportunity to continue to undertake the necessary mandatory training and hence continue working.

So, What is Remote learning?

Remote learning (often called: virtual learning and or online training) is quite simply training or teaching provided live in an online environment.  Here at Goldcross we utilise the Zoom platform which enables our trainers to deliver course content in a very similar manner to which they would do in the classroom.  The Zoom platform provides for all delegates to be connected via video link with the instructor.  This facilitates a good level of interaction and the undertaking of training activities such as quizzes and toolbox talks are just as they would be in the classroom.

How does it work?

Once an individual delegate signs up for a remote learning course they will receive their course joining instructions in the normal manner. The joining instructions provide all of the necessary detail required by the delegate such as course dates, timings, etc.

All required course materials, such as books, will be provided as a PDF or direct download depending on the type of course being undertaken.

The delegate will then be emailed a link directly by their tutor which will contain the ‘Meeting ID’, their ‘Pass Code’ and the time that they will be required to join the meeting (training session).

Once delegates are ‘logged in’ they will as normal be required to show the required form of identification to their tutor prior to the start of the initial training session.

Do I still have to undertake an Exam on a Remote Learning course?

Delegates will be required to complete the necessary exams and assessments as specified by the appropriate awarding body.

This is commonly provided for through the use of an online form (exam template) that delegates complete under the invigilation of their tutor using the webcam facility provided on the Zoom Platform.

Are Remote Learning Courses Accredited in the same Way?

All of our accrediting bodies: CITB, NEBOSH & IOSH have approved the course’s we offer through remote learning.  As a result all delegates that successfully undertake training in this way will receive exactly the same certificate that they would if they had undertaken classroom-based training.

What Hardware do I Require?

Delegates need to ensure that they have appropriate access to the use of a functional: desktop computer, laptop/notebook or IPad/Tablet for the duration of the course.  The hardware utilised must also have a built-in or supplementary webcam and a microphone.  We do not recommend the use of mobile phones.

They must of course also have access to the internet.

Why should I do Remote Learning?

There is no definitive requirement for the majority of delegates to undertake remote learning most have the opportunity to choose the type of training they wish to undertake.  It really does come down to personal choice and whilst there are clearly some advantages to remote learning these must also be balanced against what some delegates consider to be disadvantages:

Advantages:

  • No commute required –  saves time and money.
  • Convenient & Comfort – You can undertake the training dressed as you wish in an environment of your choice, even down to the chair you sit in.
  • Home environment may be less stressful (not always the case however particularly if you have young children at home) – For many delegates going back to the classroom can be rather intimidating.
  • Teaches time management and new learning/social skills – time management skills are essential to remote learning as they are in every aspect of life.  The use of new/modern technologies also enhances your existing learning skills, many of us will not have studied in any meaningful way since we left fulltime education or were mandated to undertake specific classroom based training.
  • Cost Savings – eliminates the costs associated with commuting, hotel accommodation and meals
  • Eco-friendly – remote learning provides an alternative to paper-based learning and students don’t have to travel to and from lectures, meaning the CO2 emissions are reduced substantially.

Dis-advantages:

  • Lack of Social Interaction – Learning in a ‘bricks-and-mortar’ training establishment presents delegates with the opportunity to meet and interact with people from different locations on a personal level.  All of whom are normally focused on successfully completing the training they are undertaking.  Though delegates can interact through: chat rooms, discussion boards, emails and the Zoom platform directly, the experience cannot be compared to that of a traditional training establishment.
  • Opportunity for Distraction – remote learning may not be a good option for delegates who procrastinate over things or those who aren’t able to stick to deadlines.  If you are undertaking the training at home and have a young family you will need to be able to segregate yourself from them and their needs, whilst the training is taking place. Note: If you are undertaking the training at work you can face similar issues albeit through the needs of colleagues/management.
  • New (Complicated) Technology – this learning method requires access to current and functional technologies throughout the course.  Whilst younger delegates may be very familiar with the hardware and software requirements some delegates could struggle through their unfamiliarity with the technologies in use.

What courses do Golcross deliver via Remote Learning?

All of our CITB site safety plus courses can be attended online via Remote Learning including:

CITB Health & Safety Awareness

SSSTS

SSSTS Refresher

SMSTS

SMSTS Refresher

Additionally we are also providing IOSH Managing Safely via Remote Learning.

Site Safety Plus certificate expiry

During the COVID-19 crisis, CITB provided a grace period for delegates whose SMSTS/SSSTS achievement had expired after 15 March 2020. The last updated grace period allowed delegates who were unable to access a refresher course before their certificate expired until the 30 November 2020 to join onto a SSSTS / SMSTS refresher, instead of having to sit the full course.

Due to uncertainty around local and national lockdowns and the fast approaching shutdown for the Christmas period, the CITB took the decision to extend this grace period further to support those delegates who have been unable to access the relevant refresher course.

All delegates now have until 31 January 2021 to join a SSSTS/SMSTS refresher course, if their current certificate expired after the 15 March 2020.

It is important to note that this grace period will not be extended any further, so we would advise that all delegates take this opportunity to attend the appropriate refresher course to avoid the need to attend the full course again.

With more than 3,500 builders dying each year from cancers related to their work and with thousands more cases of ill-health and working days lost, the HSE is launching its latest construction health initiative.  HSE safety inspectors will be targeting construction sites across Great Britain during the month of October.

The initiative will run from Monday 5 – Friday 30 October and the focus will be on respiratory risks not surprisingly however as a critical health risk COVID security will also be covered by the initiative.

The purpose of this initiative is twofold:

(i) To support HSE’s continuing strategy to improve the health of construction workers.
(ii) To align with the wider government agenda to get people back to workplaces safely and so support economic recovery.

Throughout the initiative Health and safety inspectors across Great Britain will be targeting construction firms with inspections to check that their health standards are up to scratch.

As in previous years these inspections will focus on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease; looking at the measures businesses have put in place to protect their workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica and wood dust. This is part of HSE’s longer term health and work strategy to improve health within the construction industry.

While the primary focus will be on health during this programme of inspections, if a HSE inspector identifies any other areas of concern, they will take the necessary enforcement action to deal with them. This will include making sure that businesses are doing all they can to protect their workers from the risk of coronavirus and make workplaces COVID-secure.

Inspectors will also be looking for evidence of employers and workers knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right controls. If necessary, they will use enforcement to make sure people are protected.

The construction initiative will be supported by HSE’s ‘Dustbuster’ campaign, aimed to influence employer behaviour by encouraging builders to download free guidance and advice, increasing knowledge and capability to protect workers’ health.

Inspectors will also be looking for evidence of employers and workers knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right controls. If necessary, they will use enforcement to make sure people are protected.

The construction initiative will be supported by HSE’s ‘Dustbuster’ campaign and aimed to influence employer behaviour by encouraging builders to download free guidance and advice, increasing knowledge and capability to protect workers’ health.

HSE’s chief inspector of construction, Sarah Jardine, said: “Around 100 times as many workers die from diseases caused or made worse by their work than are actually killed in construction accidents.

“Our inspection initiatives ensure that inspectors are able to speak to dutyholders and visit sites to look at the kind of action businesses in the construction industry are taking right now to protect their workers’ health, particularly when it comes to exposure to dust and damage to lungs.

“There are a few simple things that everyone can do to make sure they are protecting their health and their future. Be aware of the risks associated with activities you do every day, recognise the dangers of hazardous dust and consider how it can affect your health. We want businesses and their workers to think of the job from start to finish and avoid creating dust by working in different ways to keep dust down and wear the right mask and clothing.”

For more details on managing construction related health risks visit the HSE website here.

 

During the Covid-19 Crisis –

The HSE permitted First aid certificate extensions in a number of circumstances i.e. if you held a a first aid certificate that expired on or after 16 March 2020 and could not access requalification training because of coronavirus, you may have qualified for an extension. This applied to:

  • Offshore Medic (OM)
  • Offshore First Aid (OFA)
  • First Aid at Work (FAW)
  • Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW)

To qualify for the extension, you must have been able to:

  • explain why you weren’t been able to requalify
  • demonstrate what steps you have taken to access the training, if asked to do so

Current Requalification Training Requirements in England

The first aid training industry in England is now confident that enough courses are now available for all required requalification training to take place. HSE has therefore agreed a final deadline for requalification for these qualifications of 30 September 2020.

If because of coronavirus your training was interupted and you were unable to complete the training for your first aid qualification within the usual certification timeframe, training can restart at a later date as long as:

  • a full recap of any training delivered prior to the Covid-19 interruption is undertaken prior to moving onto undelivered modules
  • the awarding body is content that you can show:
    • a full understanding of all aspects of the course content
    • the knowledge required and competencies at the end of the training

Requalification training in Scotland and Wales

It is accepted that training capacity in Scotland and Wales, and for some parts of the emergency services across Great Britain, might take longer to build.

The deadline for completing requalification training in Scotland and Wales (and in relevant GB emergency services), will therefore be reviewed by HSE over the coming months. Employers or certificate holders should still try to arrange requalification training at the earliest opportunity.

Annual refresher training

If first aiders are unable to access annual refresher training face to face during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, HSE supports the use of online refresher training to keep their skills up to date.

The HSE however still strongly recommends that the practical elements of the actual FAW, EFAW and requalification courses are delivered face to face, so that competency of the student can be properly assessed.

If you are working on the highway in any capacity then you should be aware that the new ‘Passport’ scheme has now gone live and that it may well impact you in some capacity, particularly if you operate in the construction sector.

The new highways passport scheme went live on the 01st August 2020 and anybody working under the control of a Principal Contractor for a Highways England funded project or scheme (online and offline) who would normally receive a project or scheme induction in accordance with CDM 2015 will be required to utilise it, although there are currently a few exemptions such as: delivery drivers, maintenance personel, etc at this time.

The scheme which has been fully endorsed by Highways England and the Supply Chain Safety Leadership Group, has been brought into force by ‘Reference Point and Mitie’ – the companies behind Network Rail’s Sentinel Safety Solution and service and HS2’s Validate Safety Scheme.

The aim of the scheme is to:

  • Create Safer Sites
  • Reduce Risk
  • Create Effeciencies and Cost Savings

whilst providing a powerful, comprehensive and feature packed mobile workforce management solution.

It will deliver a single smart solution for the highways workforce; transforming how the competency of those working on the road network is assured and consistently improve standards within the industry.  The scheme claims to utilise trusted and improved technologies to both capture and deliver real-time information enabling workforces to be more effective and safe whilst on site.

Workers will be required to carry a smartcard that will be linked to the ‘passport’ database which in turn will provide a single and transferable real-time competence record, that can be checked daily confirming each workers ability to work in real time.  The system will cover induction training and all other skills, licences and competencies held by an individual allowing training to be aimed at the right individuals at the right time whilst also allowing individuals to confirm their competencies through the presentation of their card.

A spokesman for ‘Reference Point’ (the providers of the SkillGuard system) stated that there are also plans in place to discuss the linking of the scheme with the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card software – so watch this space!

Further details with regard to how it may impact you as an individual or a company can be found here!

 

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, businesses and individuals in all sectors are facing the challenges of resuming business head on.  The maintenance of social distancing guidelines and the implementation of the necessary health and safety measures will be extremely challenging, which is one of the primary reasons we introduced our own online course options.

For many this will be a relief however we recognise that for some, particularly for those who have been furloughed without full pay and those that have lost their jobs/contracts, this will be an extremely difficult period.

So, we thought it was time to run a free competition to lighten the load just a little.

The prize

We are offering the chance to win a £399 Goldcross Training voucher – the voucher can be used in a variety of different ways i.e. you can take one course or you can take multiple courses (up to the value of the voucher) and you can spend it on either ‘online’ or ‘classroom’ based training.

Importantly you don’t have to be an existing Goldcross customer, the competition is open to all – so whether you are:

  1. An existing; tradesman, specialist, operative, labourer or first aider
  2. Someone who is thinking of entering the; construction, rail, engineering or safety related sectors

this may be an ideal opportunity for you to cover your current training expenses or perhaps take those first steps in gaining the required qualifications to enter a new industry/sector.

How can You win?

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is:

  • Like the Goldcross Training ‘Facebook Page’ (note page not post, but happy with both if you wish)  – visit: https://www.facebook.com/GoldcrossTraining/
  • Scroll down the page to the one of our recent competition posts
  • Share the post and ‘tag’ two friends in the comments section of the post.

Good Luck!

Terms and Conditions

The voucher will valid for 12 months and the winner will be announced on 31st July.

The voucher can only be redeemed against a Goldcross Training provided training course.

The voucher has no redeemable ‘cash value’ and can only be redeemed by the named winner of the competition.

Major changes are now taking place with the NEBOSH General Certificate, one of the organisations most recognisable and trusted qualifications.  NEBOSH say these changes have been made to make the qualification more ‘learner friendly’ by utilising language that is easier to understand and to make sure it provides immediate benefits to employers.

Both the National and International versions have been revamped with a fresh new syllabus created with the assistance of over 3,000 leading experts, organisations, learners and learning partners in an effort to ensure that it provides for health and safety in the modern workplace.

The Reasons Behind the Change?

 

 

How has the Course Changed?

NEBOSH have clearly listened to what businesses have said they need and have designed and streamlined a new syllabus with content that represents the role of a real-life health and safety professional in the modern workplace.  Importantly they have also paid particular attention to their learners and have updated the language to make it easier for people to understand and changed the structure so that there is a greater focus on practical application rather than exams.

The new specification now consists of 2 units, the:

  • NG1 – a taught unit with a written exam to assess what you know
  • NG2 – a practical unit with an assignment to assess what you can do 

A quick comparison highlights that the following changes have taken place:

Current Version New Version
Units
  1.  Management of Health and Safety
  2.  Controlling Workplace Hazards
  3.  A practical workplace inspection and report.
  1.  Management of Health and Safety
  2.  Risk Assessment
Study Time NEBOSH recommend 80 hours of tuition time and 53 hours of private study time. Suggesting a minimum requirement of 133 hours across the whole course. NEBOSH recommends 68 hours of tuition time and 40 hours of private study time.  Suggesting a minimum of 108 hours across the whole course. This is 25 hours less for the new version.
Examinations Unit 1 & 2 both have examinations of a two hour duration. Their will now be one examination of two hours in length covering the unit one content (Management of Health and Safety).

The unit two (Controlling Workplace Hazards) will now be assessed via a practical post-course risk assessment project that the learner carries out at their own workplace (see below).

Practical Assessment A workplace inspection and the production of a written report to management. A risk assessment at your place of work, consisting of four parts:

  1. Description of organisation and risk assessment methodology:
  2. The risk assessment itself:
  3. Prioritisation of the three most serious hazards:
  4. Reviewing, communicating and checking the risk assessment.

Click here to view the new NEBOSH guidance on the requirement.

Command Words The exam questions make use of what NEBOSH call ‘command words’:

  • Identify
  • Outline
  • Describe
  • Explain
  • Give

Requiring individuals to learn what each command word means, as well as many aspects of health and safety!

NEBOSH considers that the new exams use a less formal language that is easier to understand and they have produced an example in the new format.

An example of the new exam paper can be downloaded here.

 

Is My Current Qualification Still Valid?

If you have previously been awarded the NEBOSH General Certificate it is still valid and can still be used to apply for membership of organisations such as IOSH and the IIRSM.  More importantly however, is your CPD up to date?  If not it wouldn’t hurt to consider undertaking the new syllabus to bring you up to date.

If you are considering undertaking your NEBOSH General Certificate why not give us a call on: 0203 633 5505, email us at: bookings@goldcross-training.com or book directly at: https://goldcross-training.co.uk/nebosh-courses/

 

 

As companies and individuals return to work this is a subject area that most will have to grapple with.  But let’s be clear this is a common process (at least it should be?) , one that most companies and their employees will have followed on many occasions – after all it is a legal requirement.

Like all ‘hazards’ the impact of Covid-19 will vary from company to company, dependent on; the work requirements/activities being undertaken and the manner in which individuals are exposed to it.  Additionally, as is the norm, companies and organisations will also have their own particular methodology to follow in completing a risk assessment.

Assessors should not lose sight of the basics i.e. who is doing what and how, where they are doing it, why are they doing it and what equipment are they are using – as with all risk assessments a thorough understanding of the tasks or activities is vital to assess exposure and to qualify any subsequent control requirements, hence individuals involved in the task should be involved in the assessment.

The risk assessment should clearly recognise the virus as a hazard and should reflect that it is spread in minute water droplets expelled from the body through; sneezing, coughing, talking and breathing.  It should also be recognised that the virus:

  • can be transferred to the hands and to surfaces.
  • it can survive on surfaces for a period of time after transfer (depending on such things as the surface type, its moisture content and temperature).

The risk assessment should also conclude that if it is passed from one person to another, whilst the vast majority of invividuals survive infection, some individuals may die and hence it should be regarded as a high hazard.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect here will be determining how exposed individuals will be and hence there are many questions you may wish to consider:-

  • While at work how might employees meet people with the disease, how frequently and for how long?
  • How do employees travel to work and does this expose them to public crowds?
  • Do you know which employees have vulnerable medical conditions that make them more susceptible to the disease? Which of your employees are from a BAME background? What is the age of your employees?
  • How do you capture this information?
  • Do you know which employees have people in their households who may have increased exposure to the disease?
  • If someone in an employee’s household must isolate, what will you require your employee to do?
  • Where are employees meeting people who may have the disease and does this increase exposure (e.g. in a confined space, in a well-ventilated environment or outside)?

The above list is not exhaustive and you may well need to consider additional aspects dependant upon the activities/tasks being considered.

Once you have assessed the ‘likelihood’ as is normal you can begin to consider how appropriate controls can be used to provide mitigation and how they might be implemented, as always the ‘safety hierarchy of Control’ is a useful tool in determining what can actually be achieved.

Covid_heirarchy

Image Courtesy of: IOSH, 2020

In this particular instance ‘Administrative controls’ will almost certainly provide the best options for the majority of organisations although some Engineering controls such as the implementation of ‘physical barriers’ may be achievable for some organisations.  The selected controls should be ‘suitable and sufficient’ and give consideration to how you will keep the workplace and equipment clean, adjust your working practices to avoid congregation/maintain social distancing and ensure people are kept safe.

Importantly you should not lose sight of the regular safety and health risks posed by your operations and activities – it is vital that you maintain effective control of exposure to these risks too.

The Institution of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH) has produced a very useful free guide to assist organisations and their assessors in undertaking a Covid-19 risk assessment which is available here.