Prepared by Chris Barrett

I was Head of Vocational Services for the National Construction College the training division of the CITB. I spent nearly 28 years with the organisation and during my last 15 years had a managerial responsibility for scaffolding and access. I was also a member of the Construction Industry Scaffolders record scheme training committee and served for a period on the NASC health and safety committee.

One significant project undertaken was a Leonardo deVinci funded project called Euroscaffolder. The aim of the program was to review and agree a standard for scaffolder training across Europe. The project involved benchmarking scaffolder training across Europe and the design of course syllabus for Scaffold user, and scaffolder. Overall the project failed to agree standards that could be fully implemented and adoption of the standards was voluntary. This was primarily as a result of the vast differences in standards of safety in relation to work at height across Europe, and the use of technically non compliant products.

During this work I was fortunate to be exposed to a considerable range of access products ranging from the Tube and fitting scaffolds, system scaffolds, frame scaffolds and timber scaffolds. From this experience as your product holds the relevant European standards for access systems I see no technical limitations as to why the LOBO system would/could not be adopted for use in Europe. The LOBO Systems also has some scope for being adaptable, something most mobile tower scaffolds do not have. For example the spacing of the trestle leg is variable within set limits. This would generally require a higher level of knowledge and understanding than with most mobile towers.

The European directive states:

4.3.6. Scaffolding may be assembled, dismantled or significantly altered only under the supervision of a competent person and by workers who must have received appropriate and specific training in the operations envisaged, addressing specific risks in accordance with Article 7, and more particularly in:

(a) understanding of the plan for the assembly, dismantling or alteration of the scaffolding concerned;

(b) safety during the assembly, dismantling or alteration of the scaffolding concerned;

(c) measures to prevent the risk of persons or objects falling;

(d) safety measures in the event of changing weather conditions which could adversely affect the safety of the scaffolding concerned;

(e) permissible loads;

(f) any other risks which the above mentioned assembly, dismantling or alteration operations may entail.

The person supervising and the workers concerned must have available the assembly and dismantling plan, including any instructions it may contain.

You training syllabus would appear to cover all of the above and again I see no reason why there should be any objections against using the product. As discussed you have a train the trainer program which should allow for internal training.

LOBO Training Day – Observations.

Duration: 1 Day

Location: LOBO Systems Ltd, Centurion Way Business Park, Alfreton Road, Derby, DE21 4AY. UK

Date: 11th June 2015

Pre Course Administration.

Details of the course venue and personal equipment requirements were provided by email prior to the course. The detail was clear and the venue was easily located using the information provided. No additional detail was found to be required prior to or during the course.

Arrival

Upon arrival there were ample parking spaces and clear notices for reception. I was greeted by a member of staff and shown through to the welfare facilities where I was given refreshments. First impressions of the venue were very positive being of high quality, well maintained and clean. The instructor met the group, introduced himself and giving a safety brief before
showing the group through to the training room/ facilities.

Course Facilities

The group was escorted to a small changing facility where they were provided with any necessary personal protective equipment including gloves, helmets and safety boots.

The classroom room was well equipped with a computer, desks and screen and capable of comfortably taking 12 candidates. There was direct access to the practical training area.

The practical training was delivered in an allocated area of the main warehouse. The overall impression was of a clean well organised venue. There were a number of static displays of LOBO access equipment giving the course candidates examples of what is achievable. There was one set of LOBO access equipment fixed to the warehouse wall which was allocated for
training.

Training

The training started promptly at the communicated time. After a short period in the classroom the instructor took the group out to the practical training area where some 80% of the delivery was to take place. The group were walked through the component identification, daily serviceability checks and the correct sequence of erection. The instructor was clearly aware
that individuals would engage best in a practical situation and adjusted his delivery style to suit.

Whilst the detailed requirement s of the work at height regulations was not taught (It is assumed that candidates would have gained this knowledge through other forms of health and safety training or they were sign posted to where the information can be found) the implications of the regulations on the erection of LOBO were covered in detail. At no time during the course did I observe a course member being unnecessarily exposed to a fall from height.

The group erected one access platform completely and then dismantled it following the directions and guidance of the instructor.

The access platform erected was as shown in the photograph above. The instructor stopped the group at the appropriate times to demonstrate or discuss important items of erection of safety. When the access platform was complete the instructors demonstrated how the platform could be made mobile and incorporate the use of cantilever platforms.

The group were encouraged to take turns to erect different elements of the single scaffold which gave adequate exposure into how the components worked and fixed/ integrated together. During this course only one of the group members went off the floor to erect the final guard rails. Whilst there was very good group discussion and explanation from the instructor, I would encourage consideration being given to all course participants being exposed to erection sequences at height. It is a requirement of the Work at Height Regulations that individuals are trained in practical situations that replicate the real life exposure. Learning and reinforcement of the correct ways to protect individuals from a fall is best achieved through the use of kin aesthetic learning. This could be achieved by more group rotation, erecting the platform more than once, providing more access equipment or a combination of all three.

At all times during the training the instructor used good teaching practices to check and verify learning and understanding. He also encouraged and welcomed group participation and this was positively evidenced by the number of questions asked and the level of discussion during the day.

With all access platform training there is a risk that the course participants now believe they know how the equipment works and they can sometimes go ahead of the instructor causing safety issues. This issue was well controlled by the instructor and the dismantling process was given equal importance. The instructor also covered how the equipment should be stored ready for use next time.

The erection process took the group up to lunch break. After lunch the platform was dismantled and the final theory session delivered in the classroom.

The final short theory session covered technical details of the equipment and provided manufacture brochures and information necessary to use the equipment safely.

The day concluded with a short theory test.

This was marked and feedback provided to each candidate at the end of the day.

Course Welfare

Lunch was provided which included sandwiches and drinks; water was available as and when required.

Post Course Admin

An end of course evaluation form was provided and collected at the finish of the day.

Course certification is sent out direct to participants, following successful completion of the program.

Overall Summary

From my extensive experience of training in the access sector the training and facilities provided by LOBO are on a par with the best access training providers in the UK. The training course is of an appropriate timescale and covers all the relevant information, instruction and skills required to safely erect, use and dismantle a LOBO access platform.  For more complex access platform solutions the company provides more detailed training and information.