So a considerable amount of debate was created after my recent presentation to the CLOCS Safety Forum last week, as I discussed raising the standards across our sectors by looking at how companies can start to measure their driver capability not just by training or skills but by competencies.
Nothing that I haven’t covered before, but there was a slightly different audience other than the mineral extractives sector, but with the same vehicle types, there’s no real difference.
Construction, Ready-Mix, Aggregates, Quarrying and Waste, were all represented. With 50 attendees, it was a great way to look at the benefits of having a shared, relevant and common competence standard.
It’s generally accepted that the training mandated by some companies, especially across the Minerals sector, is all that is required to have a competent driver on our sites. Still, with so many new drivers needed to keep up with demand, this entry-level health and safety training isn’t enough.
We operate some specialist bits of kit as highlighted in the presentation; all be it ‘specialist’ name only, but we continue to encounter the same problems, day in and day out, for over 20 years without even trying to introduce a different approach.
Training is still needed, without a doubt, but how do we know that a driver implements what they’ve learnt in their daily routine? We can’t.
Training also needs to be consistent, which it isn’t, so all we do at the minute is accept what we’ve always done and hope that it’s not one of our drivers involved in an accident, god forbid a fatal one.
We can’t ever hope to see any improvements if we never adapt to the changing needs of our industry, and that’s going to take time, effort and resources – or is it?
We’ve already heard that “the nature of the work and the demographic of the workforce makes routine training and competency assessment a challenge”, but without any evidence, surely that’s a lazy answer to not wanting to improve the road safety statistics of our industry?
Yet, in the following sentence, we hear that over 40,000 drivers have attended training over the past five years, with another 40,000 to be put through this training in 2022/23 – again, not that much of a challenge, then, is it?
It’s always good to hear the opinions of others within the industry, good or bad; feedback, debate, and discussion are where real change is born, so this is one debate that won’t go away time soon, but whatever your opinion, there’s no denying that something needs to change.
Thanks to the CLOCS team for inviting me to present and to everyone who attended, but if you did miss it and are wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s a link to the presentation… you never know; you might just agree.