Comment – A cacophony of cards

As regular readers will attest, I have opinions and I am not afraid to share them. But when I do so, I am ever mindful of the act that I am just a journalist. I speak from the periphery. I am an interloper. I am, as the rather graphic expression goes, “outside pissing in”.

However, what follows is the opinion of Roy Gibbons, managing director of Button-Linguard – a man that has spent decades within the UK demolition industry. That opinion caries far more heft than mine; and the fact that it has been greeted with universal agreement over on LinkedIn (where it was first posted) suggests that this opinion is far from unique.

That’s enough from me – This is what Roy Gibbons has to say:

Are we trying to turn our blue-collar workers into white-collar workers? Are NVQ’S appropriate to the manual section of the Demolition Industry? Are certificates of training proof of competence? There are 14 types of CCDO cards- ranging from a visitor to a trainers card. Do we really need 14 types of CCDO Cards?

These days we have an obsession with safety training. If anything we have a tendency to over train as regulations require regular classroom refresher courses!

This, in my opinion, has a counter productive impact on operatives who are inclined to switch off and get bored with too much repetition.

To make my case: You pass your driving test once and although there would have been numerous changes in driving regulations, you won’t be tested again, that’s basically a license for life! Yet we expect operatives in the industry to keep re-testing even though there has been no new regulations or laws introduced.

Training is necessary but in my opinion its not the complete answer to site safety. There is too much emphasis on classroom based training and not enough on site.

While there is a need for a limited amount of classroom training there is no substitute for training on the job. It’s here that you learn about the job and site activities, whether its manual or machine. Being aware of what’s going on is vital to safety and many accidents could be avoided if operatives are informed of the site activities throughout the day.

I would never assess a potential new employee on their training achievements alone, I would want to see some supervised work on site and then make a judgement.

Many operatives find the current touch screen test “daunting” and although it can also be conducted on a question and answer basis, some operatives still find it difficult taking an exam involving a computer. Fact is that we can have a situation where an operative is fully competent on site but fails their classroom test, this, effectively leaves the operative unemployable. This cannot be right as we all have operatives who struggle with the three R’s but on site they put Albert Einstein to shame!

Training qualifications are important but we shouldn’t rely entirely on them, it’s not the quantity of training that matters but the quality. That said, accidents could happen no matter what training you have received, as you cannot legislate for human error!

Please note: This is a personal opinion of someone who has been in the Industry for 55 years and doesn’t necessarily represent the opinions of the Directors of Button-Linguard

Roy Gibbons