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Stuart Phillips

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  1. Felling 6-12 trees (according to the assessment schedule) including the set up and clearing up as well as the q & a, and including large trees, in 45 minutes. Pretty good going. Unless of course it was an assessor who was more interested in giving a Pass rather than checking competence. It does confirm something long suspected, that this qualification is not fit for purpose and is not being delivered appropriately by (some) assessors.
  2. If anyone ever has a problem with Lantra quals, give Lantra a call. The units on which the NPTC e no ( and Lantra quals) are based on were all originally written by Lantra. As these quals came out in 2012, any not recognising the Lantra ones is just out of touch. There might be a temptation to think that getting everything done in 5 days is a really good time saving. But you want to make sure that you are properly trained, and assuming you have no prior experience, 5 days is not going to give proper training. If in doubt, go one the Lantra website and search the courses, it will show you the recommended durations for the difference courses. Or, do a quick Google search, and you will quickly see what sort of duration (and prices) different independent trainers are putting against these courses.
  3. awarding bodies like Lantra and C&G produce qualifications, and these are regulated in England by Ofqual (in Scotland by SQA). They also produce certifications, which are non-regulated. Quals must meet the standards set by regulator, for the non regulated the awarding body pretty much sets its own standard. So, Lantra's chipper ticket is non regulated, and if you run it past the RFS for your cert arb, they won't accept it because its not a qual. Likewise the C&G utility certificates are not qualifications. felling large trees... not a qual.
  4. C&G/NPTC still offer the unit for their own certification, but there is no corresponding regulated qualification like there is with the felling over 380.
  5. There is no upper limit, the qual is simply "Felling and processing trees over 380mm". That said, the responsibility of the employer is to ensure that an individual is "adequately trained", and letting a newbie loose on a 'kin big tree the day after they completed their CS32 assessment is likely to fall short of this requirement.
  6. As far as I'm aware there isn't one. As you know Lantra SSC developed the units used in both Lantra Awards' and NPTC's qualifications and, there was no comparable unit developed. It may be that, at the time, it was seen that there was such low take up so as to suggest it was not needed. … the lack of enquiries about it since would support that thought. That's not to say that there are not a dozen training companies who will offer you training for CS44 if you ask them.
  7. You remember that much quoted lie, "now you've passed your driving test, you can start to learn how to drive"?? In that sense, Chainsaws is no different to driving. You do the basics, learn to pass the tests, and then start to learn the 'tricks of the trade' and build up competence. As with driving, a gentle reminder of the basics... like 'mirror, signal, manoeuvre' is worthwhile (how often do you curse the bod in front for not using their indicators, or for doing it at the last minute?). The issue comes with those who believe that a 'Certificate of Competence' is a certificate that they are competent. Its like passing the driving test; it means that, on the day, at least you did the basics adequately. Competence is all about learning those "old boy's skills" which get you out of trouble when you are half way up a hill without a winch.... And you don't get to be an 'old boy' by getting it wrong.
  8. The push for refreshers is from the HSE's PUWER ACoP (Reg 9 paragraph 124 if you want to look it up) and the specifics for chainsaw is in the HSE guide INDG317 Chainsaws at Work (page 6). This is also where the 3 and 5 year recommendation can be found. This 3 / 5 year recommendation has led to a compliance based approach to refresher training. That is to say, no matter how incompetent someone is with a saw, if they have done a refresh within the last 5 years it will all be okay. (or possibly not). The push more recently (and more sensibly) has been toward encouraging a risk based approach to refresher training. That would mean that there are still planned refreshers, but concentrating on higher risk activities, or doing something like hung up trees before starting a contract clearing a site with a lot of snagged trees in it. The risk based approach is more difficult to manage for contracts, as it doesn't put a neat tick in a box. so the 3/5 year requirement is stuck into contracts. Up-skilling is a good option, if its a skill you are likely to use, and if its a skill that does refresh other units. It can, in some contexts, become yet another thing to refresh in the future. [It is often said ( and is in this thread) that there is no required refresher for driving... having driven into the office today, and seen the antics of some of the idiots on the road, perhaps there should be.]
  9. I would like to know who the training instructor was. If it was anyone working with us, a quiet word in their shell-like might be needed.
  10. The need to do refresher training or some description comes from PUWER Regulation 9, and the often quoted 5 years is in the HSE's guide "Chainsaws at work" INDG 317 (http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg317.pdf). The more recent guides from the HSE have tended to shy away from setting out that it should be on a 3 or 5 year basis, and gone for saying that they would expect there to be planned refresher training, on a risk based approach. You might go for up skilling, but think about which ticket you're collecting as, whilst felling over 380mm would clearly cover a lot of the same areas as Felling upto 380mm, that won't be true across the board. It won't be a surprise that I wouldn't suggest just doing the ticket without doing the training. Apart from having a vested interest, I am always aware that Regulation 9 stipulates "adequate training" not "collect a certificate" so, in case of accident, that's what you will be measured against.
  11. Couple of thoughts. Construction tends to be static. Its much easier , and more reasonable to provide facilities on a site where folk are going to be based for quite a while. And, Health Safety and Welfare requirements tend to have a wonderful clause added into them which says, "as far as reasonably practicable". I will be seeing one of our friendly HSE inspectors in a week or so, and I will see what he knows about it.... if anything.
  12. Had an interesting chat to the HSE about refresher training. The whole 3 year/5 year thing as left everyone looking at a compliance based approach to refreshers. That is, "as long as I within my 5 years, it doesn't matter how bad I am". The push would be to move to a planned, risk based approach so, "looking a doing a lot of bigger trees, so I'll refresh felling over 380mm this year". That could be just the felling unit, not maintenance and cross cutting as well. This could be followed, in a year or three by windblow or whatever. Or, if someone is away from work for a few weeks, a refresher course to get them back up to speed. The essential elements here being that there is some form of refresher training happening, and it is planned in. And the training is against an identified need, through the risk assessment, rather than on lets refresh it all every 5 years basis (or, worst still, a "lets upskill to do windblown trees, even though I don't need the ticket, as it will 'refresh' the cross cutting skills I do need to refresh" approach).

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