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Stuart Phillips

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  1. The current system doesn’t work but there is very little incentive to change it. For ‘read ‘tricky and more expensive’. Here’s some of what I think is wrong with what we have currently… 1. PUWER (Regulation 9) emphasizes the need for adequate training. Our current system places the emphasis on the ‘need’ for a ‘ticket’, a certificate. 2. Learners, with no previous experience, complete a 5 day course (often only working on softwoods) and are then expecting to be competent to work in different situations with numerous different species. 3. The quality control of instruction and assessment hasn’t always been all it could be (although I know that recently this has begun to be tightened up). The net result being that the industry accident rate is higher that anyone thinks it should be. A number of suggestion have been put forward for revising how we work, but usually these are relegated to the too expensive or too difficult piles. So, until either people get over the stage of tutting and saying, “something should be done”, or there is legislation to force change, it is what we are stuck with. All I would add is that the certification should be a starting point. PUWER Reg 9 still places a duty on employers to ensure staff are adequately trained. If we are saying that just doing a 5 day course isn’t sufficient then they are obliged to ensure that there is some further (presumably on the job) training. Oh, and as for the C&G and Lantra 'gravy train', call into their offices some time, and see how many of the staff are sat in 18 carat gold chairs, and how many Bentleys are in the carpark.
  2. Try giving Matt Cooper at Trees Limited a shout (info@treeslimited.co.uk.). He may do it, or lis likely to know someone who can.
  3. PUWER reg 9 says that you must be adaquately trained (emphasis on the training). For almost all purposes the Lantra quality assured course will fit the bill, and the certification will give evidence of training (emphasis on the training). The C&G ticket is a qualification (rather than a certification) and someone will put together a course to meet the requirements of the C&G assessment (the emphasis being on the qualification). In both cases they follow the usual recommendation of periodic refresher training and the standard often quoted is 5 years for regular users and 3 years for occasional users.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.]
  12. 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.


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