Training Costs January 2023

After a recent site visit with our H&S Director, Roy Bush, the subject of training costs came up – let’s be honest, I’d be more surprised if it didn’t. 

We are all big believers at MinTrainthat training should be viewed as an investment rather than a cost; it’s a shame that some within the industry don’t hold the same view. 

 These types of conversations, especially around the training for mixer drivers, are common for me; however, for Roy, there’s still that disbelief that companies can still neglect their legal duties regarding training and competence for drivers. 

 Introducing something new to an industry that’s never thought they needed it or wanted was always going to be a monumental task; believe me, it has been just that and still is!

But thinking about it, it’s not that I was introducing something new eight years ago; it was more that it would highlight what the industry hadn’t done and what it should’ve done for over 70 years – ensure that the drivers were trained and competent. 

 Roy loves a good quote (and those famous Roys Rants), especially when it’s from the Quarry Regs or the H&S at Work Act, but when it comes from one of THE most respected H&S specialists across our sector, I generally tend to listen… he’s like the Gandalf of H&S. 

 “Responsibilities are covered in sections 2&3 of the HSWA (Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974) and PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) Reg 9,” Roy told me. 

 “Section 2 Requires employers to do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure employees are not placed in danger and in particular (Section 2(2)(c)) to ensure the adequate provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees. 

So, drivers MUST be adequately trained to drive the truck mixer (not just use the mixer controls) in order to ensure their own safety.”

 “Section 3 – Employers must conduct their undertaking (which I believe includes the concrete in the truck mixer when it is on the road) so as, so far as is reasonably practicable, not to endanger those not employed by them who may be affected. 

This would, in my opinion, extend to making sure that those driving truck mixers on the road were adequately trained to use what is highly specialised equipment in the public domain. 

So, drivers MUST be adequately trained to drive the truck mixer so as not to endanger others.

 “PUWER Regulation 9 Requires that employers must ensure that all those using work equipment (which the parts of a truck mixer not associated with the running chassis would fall under, especially how these parts might affect the operation of the running chassis) have received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken, and: they shall ensure that any of his employees who supervises or manages the use of work equipment has received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken. 

So, taking ALL of the risks into account, truck mixer drivers MUST be properly trained.”

 Another reason why the manufacturers themselves state in the operating instructions supplied with all mixers is that drivers/operators must be fully trained and competent to drive and operate the mixer. 

 Roy also pointed out that as these rollover incidents are classed as ‘road collisions’, the lack of training provided to the driver rarely becomes apparent in any Police investigation Looking at maintenance procedures, the volume of the load, drum speed, and mix consistency, all in line with the manufacturer’s instructions, would also throw up some other causes of rollover incidents – rather than just road speed. 

The driver can’t and shouldn’t be held solely responsible if they’ve never been trained. 

 Roy’s on a roll and wants to discuss costs and whether training is cost-effective. 

 “Let’s just say, on the approximate number of mixers in the UK, there are 4950 ‘experienced’ drivers and 550 ‘new’ drivers. 

 We can also assume that only a third (1650) of experienced drivers require refresher training every three years. 

 So let’s say the average cost to train these new drivers is £1200 over 12 months would give us a figure of £660,000.

 Now the cost to provide refresher training and a competence assessment for those 1650 experienced drivers is £350; we get a figure of £577,500 and a combined total lets round it up to  £1.25 million for the annual training cost burden. 

 We also know that in the UK, we suffer approximately two rollovers per month, with an average cost of £200k per rollover; we’d have a total of £5 million – remember, these are only the ones we know about and is a conservative estimate. 

Again, conservatively, if training reduces rollovers by 50%, the annual cost becomes £2.5 million.

 Therefore, payback on investment would be in 6 months – and the industry says it can’t afford training!!”

 I’ll need a sit down after all that, Roy, but it puts it all into perspective. 

 While some quarters of our sector tell us that “the nature of the work and the demographic of the workforce makes routine training and competency assessment a challenge”it’s not; it’s just an excuse continuously overused within our industry.

Along with “luckily”, “fortunately”, and “thankfully”. 

 In the final words from Roy, “next time there is a mixer rollover, you might not be able to use any of those, so the sooner companies understand their responsibilities, the sooner the industry becomes safer for everyone.”

 Wise words, Roy, wise words.  

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