There’s no denying the registered training organisation (RTO) market is a crowded one. How can you make your business stand out from others? A poor choice of location could see prospective students choosing another RTO, even though the training you offer is superior.
We’ve chosen 10 reasons why we believe locating your business at a specialist training centre will help your business grow.
What – too lowbrow? Having free and ample car parking capable of accommodating 100’s of cars a day means that all staff and students on any given day can park safely and securely on site. Gold! Try matching that in the CBD? Your students will thank you for the money they will save on parking fees and the flexibility of driving to their training.
Value for Money
How reasonable is your rent and is your lease agreement easy to manage based on gross rental payments? In other words, what you see in your lease is what you pay? Or are there hidden outgoing amounts (apart from electricity which is pretty standard). A specialist training precinct such as The Construction Training Centre adopts a collaborative leasing approach to work with their tenant partners, because your continued success is there’s too.
Close to the CBD
No-one wants to be far from the action but being in town is a real hassle. See number 1 above for example! CTC’s precinct in Salisbury is ideally located for inter-connectivity (little wonder it’s a hub for major logistics companies), and it’s close to public transport for the environmentally minded as well.
Large Campus style facilities
When you have a large precinct you need space to breathe. Plenty of green space gives a feeling of a relaxed but well-maintained training hub, with purpose-built campus style facilities. It’s an attractive place to attend and do business and the amenities reflect the large numbers who can be in attendance at any one time.
On Site Café
A vibrant café on site will stop your students wandering off at breaks. In this day and age where worker well-being is considered important, the Café should offer healthier choices to help address poor nutrition and obesity among workers. CTC has worked with the on-site Café to provide calorie and nutrition information on menu options to help workers make healthier choices. An on-site café should also provide in-house catering if you offer this to your students.
Sorry…dark what? That’s code for uber-fast internet connection. In the future you won’t be able to do business without it. A state of the art training precinct should offer this to their tenants to future proof your business.
The Precinct Management Office at a specialised training centre might offer additional services to make life easier for you – not a hotel but as helpful as any front desk! Do they collect your mail from the local post office and deliver to your door? Do they accept courier deliveries on your behalf? Some might even have a Justice of the Peace on site – how convenient would that be?
Their place – your brand
You want your brand to be easy to find – whether it be through signage or via a Google search. A specialised training centre should make it easier for your customers to find you with effective way-finding signage. And a web portal from their website to your business focused on helping your business to grow.
Safe and Secure
Everyone knows the benefits of being certified to the well-known international standards for quality, safety and the environment. It’s difficult and costly for a small business to achieve this, but you want to know that your landlord is across this for the safety and well-being of your staff. What assurance is there that your landlord is on top of safety, quality and environmental issues? A triple ISO certified and externally audited management system is a robust means of underpinning the everyday activities and your precinct management team should be responsive in terms of safety, compliance and meeting your needs as a customer.
Caring about your talent
Attracting, then retaining good staff is one of the greatest challenges of business owners today. Competing with much larger organisations can be hard. A Training Precinct should be looking to provide added value to your business in the ‘talent stakes’ like a competitively priced 24/7 gym with twice weekly boot camps, a relaxation and reflection room with sleep centre, free library and journal club, free annual skin checks, flu jabs and hearing tests on top of lifestyle initiatives like annual nutrition challenge and quarterly bio-scans. In such a case you know your workplace will compete with the best ‘big end of town’ can throw at you. The extra cost? Well at top quality training precincts just expect this to be within the overall competitive rental envelope.
By now you will have worked out that CTC’s purpose-built facility in Salisbury offers everything any organisation or individual worker could need to conduct or participate in specialist industry training … in one place.
So if you need the complete leasing package, try us by calling us on 07 3216 6711 or email email@example.com. Not quite big or established enough to take out a lease? Call us about our award-winning disruption called Hot Leasing or short-term conference and training room hire. We have all bases covered.
The latest in the series of Safety Seminars was held in CTC’s Hot Leasing facility on Wednesday, 25th May. Around 60 people representing various sectors attended the seminar which highlighted safety issues and concerns around Materials and Personnel Hoists.
Industry experts Stuart Davis, Principal Adviser from Workplace Health & Safety Queensland and Dave Van Der Poel, QLD/NT Sales Manager with Alimak Hek shared their knowledge and provided interesting insights around construction hoist safety.
Has a maximum lifespan of 5 years
Critical to ensure the hoist will stop even if the drive fails
Critical to ensure continued safe operation
OEM Service is required after every 40 hours of use
The hoist should be checked each day as part of the start of day routine
Functional tests should be conducted after each project
Correct ties and bolts should be used to install
If hiring a unit
Installation is critical to safety
Check the following before allowing a unit onto the site:
the service records are current
the safety device tag is current
For information about this or CTC’s state of the art Hot Leasing facility, visit our website www.hotleasing.com.au.
The latest in CTC’s series of safety seminars was held last Wednesday, 24th February 2016. The topic was Confined Space Safety. Presenters highlighted safety issues around practitioners entering a confined space.
The first presenter was Brett Biddle, an Inspector with Workplace Health and Safety, Queensland. He spoke about issues concerning safety, and recounted incidents that highlight areas of concern.
“Often people can overlook the obvious, which can have disastrous consequences for personnel and management”, Brett commented.
Brett mentioned a number of matters that practitioners should be aware of, namely:
A query often asked of him is “am I working in a confined space?’.
Complete a risk assessment prior to entering the area, considering the legislation and code of practice
Should the assessment indicate that the area might be a confined space, treat it as a confined space
All persons on the confined space entry team should be well trained
The entry person (as the gatekeeper) is a key role
All staff should be rotated through various roles to ensure competency.
Check communications are operational
Communication between the rescuer and entry personnel
Communication between rescuer and emergency services
All equipment (including rescue gear) should be inspected and set up prior to entry to the confined space in the event of a rescue being required
Rescues should be drilled and practised regularly – drills save lives
As things evolve, ensure that risk assessments are reviewed and re-assessed.
Will we have sufficient oxygen?
We need sufficient for life otherwise workers begin to behave erratically
A number of matters may change the amount of oxygen available – e.g. the addition of other gases
Be mindful of positional asphyxia (crushing may remove oxygen)
Recycling fans with snorkels often get damaged and shorter and shorter over time as the tubing is damaged
Ensure your calculations are accurate so that the above equipment will recycle air sufficiently in the confined space
Working in remote locations – may have other sources of contaminants that need to be considered i.e. gases from other generators
Water and engulfing need to be considered
When inspectors arrive on site, often the rescue equipment has “just left site”
Brett then shared some examples of investigations he’d undertaken as a result of confined space incidents.
1. Investigation of safety relating to water tankers which are a confined space
Staff were asked where the rescue equipment was located.
This was some distance from the confined space and sufficiently removed to be of little use in a rescue situation.
2. Investigation of an incident where a worker sustained a back injury while working in a confined space
The company had been practising their rescues, and was fully competent
However the emergency services rescued the injured worker as there were no other risks (e.g. fumes)
The company was fully cleared on investigation
3. Investigation into a worker injury:
A large galvanised plate had to be removed from a switch room
The room was not treated as a confined space, it was treated as a room
He was not wearing breathing apparatus
The plate required 3 cuts to remove it
The worker started to feel ill, took a break and continued to cut. Once the job was completed the worker went home feeling ill
His next door neighbour discovered him slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle, and called an ambulance. Luckily he survived, as he was drowning from the fumes.
On investigation, this incident occurred because all parties were unaware of confined space matters.
Ignorance is no defence.
The second speaker was Rick Millar, Chairman of the Working at Heights Association (WAHA) Technical Committee who presented the findings of a confined space survey the Association conducted recently.
Respondents highlighted a number of concerns:
Varying state regulations regarding Confined Space
60% of respondents would be affected by this as they operated across state boundaries
consistency across company work sites
additional references required
extra burden on resources
Approximately 26% of respondents are unclear on the Australian Standard AS2865 requirements
Majority believed the training available was sufficient, however 32% still required extra support in this area
Most extra support was sourced from manufacturers and distributors – rather than a single source of information.
Rick Millar along with Stuart Lange from Capital Safety then presented a live demonstration of how to effect a Confined Space Rescue.
I’m old enough to remember when boxing was real legit. The fighters were fit, the purses weren’t outrageously huge and as contests they were classic examples of the best the sport could offer. Sadly the sport is in decline and nowadays crowds seem to be drawn more to UFC and other mixed fighting forms where rules and finesse seem to play second fiddle to brutality. I can recall over the years some exceptional fighters who were capable of boxing up a weight range. Regrettably with the decline in boxing has also come a decline in language and sadly ‘punching above your weight’ has now come to mean in today’s zeitgeist someone (generally a man) who appears to be mismatched in physical appearance compared to their partner. How shallow we have all become!
Well I’m here to breathe fresh meaning back into this expression. We are going to take this back from those who have hijacked it to reflect the sometimes wafer thin veneer that makes up modern life. The challenge is, however, what examples of punching above your weight can we now proffer? Where are the credible stories of those who genuinely have done what wouldn’t seem possible given their size and scale?
Well…look no further than CTC’s recent re-certification of its integrated management system that meets the international standards for quality, environment and workplace health and safety. Almost without fail the domain of much larger companies, ISO certification is a tough and externally audited and certified system to meet standards set by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).
It’s a big deal getting one. Quite a few companies have sought to get ISO9001 the international standard for quality. It might be they needed it to win a government or international contract. They might have just wanted to ensure they can meet and exceed customer expectations and show continual improvement. Either way it’s a big deal and not easily achieved.
So think about CTC’s achievement in holding three ISO standards for quality, the environment and work health and safety (ISO9001, ISO14001 and OHSAS18001/ASNZS4801 to be precise). First certified in July 2012 we have been working on improvements across all aspects of our operation and bedding in and maturing our system since then. It is now a fundamental part of our DNA.
It’s how we do things around here and everyone is involved from the top to the bottom of the organisation. Not that that is far mind – there’s only nine of us.
And then in June, after three years from initial implementation, we were due for a full recertification assessment of our management system.
And that is where the term ‘punching above your weight’ really starts to resonate. That is not to say there wasn’t some trepidation within the team when we were confronted with three full days of having our system scrutinised every which way by the external auditor from the BSI.
You can argue about the quality of their cricket team or how rubbish their weather is but you can’t deny the Brits know how to audit your system and find any flaws or weaknesses.
But we went one up in this Ashes stoush because we came through entirely unscathed with praise by the auditor on the sophistication of our systems and our commitment to continuous improvement and re-engineering to constantly keep ahead in delivering for our customers, keeping our site safe and protecting the environment.
The auditor commented that he had not seen a system as well integrated into the day to day work processes and he included in this all of the large companies he has audited. In fact, if I recall correctly, he might just have said we ‘punch well above our weight’ in this respect!
Fatalities caused by crush injuries and falls from elevation while operating an elevated work platform continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers. For this reason, EWP Safety was the topic chosen for the second CTC Safety Series Seminar held in the Hot Leasing facility on Wednesday, 25th February 2015.
The Seminar was endorsed by the Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia Inc., the peak body responsible for ensuring high standards of equipment, safety and reliability around elevated work platform operations. We thank them for their support.
Workplace Health & Safety Queensland and the Griffith University Institute for Educational Research also contributed to the discussion. Industry experts who presented were –
Brad Geinitz, Principal Advisor (Construction), Queensland Construction Strategy Unit, Workplace Health & Safety Queensland;
Phil Middleton, Training Director, Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia Inc.
Dr Tim Mavin, Associate Professor, Griffith Institute for Educational Research
Following are the notes from Mr Middleton’s and Dr Mavin’s presentations.
To cover all aspects, Mr Middleton contacted a specialist law firm to check if were there any points of law that places a responsibility upon a company to use a VoC assessment program?
The answer from a legal perspective was that a company as the person conducting a business or undertaking has a primary duty under the Act to ensure so as far as reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking.
Whilst the Act does not specifically talk about assessing an operator’s competence, in a lawyer’s eyes the words ‘so far as reasonably practicable’, ring loud in their ears. By using a VoC assessment process, they can provide evidence of reasonably practicable and this returns the responsibility back on the operator.
It was also made clear that if a company did not use a VoC process, it would not mean an automatic loss in court. A VoC was a tool to strengthen a defence.
To conclude, there is no legislative requirement to support the VoC process. It appears to be industry driven and has the support of the regulators. From a legal perspective, it is a tool used to strengthen a defence by turning the responsibility back on the operator.
The inaugural CTC Safety Series Industry breakfast kicked off yesterday with the focus on Swing Stage Safety. The event, endorsed by the Queensland Major Contractors Association had guest speakers Rob Thiess (Managing Director of Construc Pty Ltd and The President of the Scaffolding Association) as well as David Elder (from Elders Scaffolding and the Vice President of the Scaffolding Association).
The focus on Swing Stage Safety came after the deaths of two swing stage workers on the Gold Coast in 2008 that placed new obligations on principal contractors, building owners and managers to ensure the safe use of swing-stage scaffold.
Rob Thiess said the amendments to the Scaffolding Code of Practice 2009 introduced a lot more checks and balances and more engineering involvement. As a result, industry is slowly getting documentation in place to reduce the risk of swing stage incidents. Rob and Dave spoke about these changes and gave some valuable advice for principal contractors, building owners and managers to ensure the safe use of swing stage scaffold.
Below are 10 questions a PCBU should ask at the time of initial installation of the swing stage and also during the on-going operation of the equipment.
1. Is the stage suitable for work being done?
The correct equipment needs to be selected, sometimes abseilers or mast climbers are being used instead of swing stages, however these are not practical for all jobs.
2.Has supporting structure been approved for installation of stage?
Check that the structure on which the stage is sitting is capable of holding the stages. Whether it be a roof, or balcony etc. the Project Engineer must sign off.
3. Has stage and rostrum equipment got the relevant documentation? Drawings, maintenance records etc.
Scaffolders must have all the documentation available. There are more components for the PCBU around the documents that you must be able to obtain from suppliers. Engineering drawings for the swing stage suspension may be generic or specific. In terms of the design certification of swing stage, they are not necessarily the same documents as mentioned above, they often are built in Europe but still must be registered in Australia. An important component is the verification that it has been installed on site. You must check that the installation has been signed off by an engineer.
4. Do erectors have the required training and tickets?
A specific course on erecting swing stages was introduced in 2009. There must be evidence that the personal who erected the swing stage is an advanced scaffolder or an advanced rigger.
5.Have the operators been through required induction and training?
Operators also need to have completed a 2 day course. They will have to complete a specific site induction as well.
6.Has stage been signed off and handed over with relevant paperwork completed?
Documentation must be made available at all times on site. All the documentation that is required is contained at the rear of the Scaffolding Code of Practice. Documentation must be completed not only at the initial installation of the stage but also when changes are made. Everything must be tagged and up to date especially electrical equipment. All equipment must be made identifiable and you must check for defects. The equipment is also subject to fatigue which may cause cracking. However, don’t be put off by old equipment, as long it has been checked thoroughly. The equipment specifications should be kept with the equipment on site.
7.What about for training organisations delivering Swing Stage training?
When referring to Hot Leasing, all stages from design, installation and services have documentation in place; just like a construction site. When an RTO is conducting an installer’s course on the Hot Leasing swing stage a competent person with an advanced scaffolding licence must sing off to verify that it has been put back correctly. All this documentation is contained in a plastic pouch that stays on the back of the swing stage.
8. Has access to the stage, power and rooftop support been restricted to approved personnel only?’
Workplace Health and Safety require a procedure that once the swing stage is in place the stage cannot be tampered with. There must be an exclusion zone, if the exclusion zone is a temporary fence, it must be lockable. If the swing stage is on an existing structure such as a roof, make sure that there is a system in place that no one else can access this area. In the past rostrums have been tampered with and contractors have moved the swing stage without authority and nobody knows. The updated process with the new code of practice is much safer.
In terms of workers getting safely in and out of the swing stage, it is not possible to install gates as it would impact on the structural integrity. WH&S only require a procedure detailing how to safely access and exit the swing stage. Climbing the guard rail to get into the stage has been accepted industry practise for many years and there have been no incidents of workers getting injured getting in and out of the stage.
9. Has rescue/retrieval procedure been documented and put in place?’
There is a requirement to have a procedure for rescue and retrieval so that if anyone is stuck on a stage because of injury or equipment failure, they must be able to get the let the stage down. For example in a power outage the equipment can be lowered without power. The stage is designed to be operated by two workers. This way, if one of them is injured, the other can get the stage down. If necessary, a crane can be utilised however this is not common in most cases as it normally is possible for the stage to be lowered. Another option is installing secondary lines or ‘gotya kits’ which can get someone up to assist if the workers in the swing stage cannot get themselves down.
10.Who is responsible for organising training for operators?
Painters in particular have done a lot of training on swing stage operation, but it is up to the principal contractor and not the scaffolder to organise this training.
Let me start this particular bog by declaring my political leanings … well some anyway. I’m not a neo-right ‘small state at all costs’ sort of guy. I know Hayek, I don’t happen to worship him. But just lately I have been finding myself using the phrase ‘Nanny State’ in a few conversations.
Where this particularly comes into question in our line of work is around safety. The main irritations I have with the whole safety debate are:
Over prescription by the state in terms of what is needed; and
An ambulance chasing culture where exacting economic reparation for an injury has pushed the boundary of both common sense and good taste.
In order to be legally compliant (to cover off point 1) and to avoid being financially crippled (covering-off point 2), a whole mass of red-tape and systems are implemented to put a barrier between the business and those seeking to extract compensation from the business.
As those of you familiar with MythBusters TV show will know, a telephone directory is a pretty efficient bullet proof protection device. Using this principle, systems, that when printed out are of phonebook proportions, are put in place it would appear to absorb the impact of any projectile coming its way.
Where in all of this you may ask is the focus on safety? Rather it would appear that the focus is on risk avoidance and damage limitation.
On the face of it, safety is a pretty straightforward concept. Do whatever is necessary to get your staff and customers home safe at the end of their shift each day and every day thereafter. That’s the maxim we use at CTC.
But scratch the surface and it gets much more complex.
A few years ago, for example, Queensland Health implemented a safety system that encouraged the reporting of near misses in order to learn from mistakes and allow system improvements to become even safer. Fundamental to this was the implementation of a ‘no blame culture’.
The implementation by Dr John Wakefield who brought experience back from the Veterans Hospitals in the US (who are at the leading edge of this) was a study in how to implement programs. After operating for a while they produced their findings. Such was the success of the program that they got lambasted by the Courier Mail who on their front page made alarmist claims about Queensland Health being a much less safe organisation.
What in fact was happening was an improvement in the reporting of near misses and in fact Queensland Health was much safer as a result. There was the beginning of a safety culture.
Surely we want near misses reported more often so we can learn from them? Those old enough to remember the various management initiatives over the decades will recall the ‘Learning Organisation’ fad. Clearly what was needed there and in most organisations still is some good old fashioned learning from past mistakes….ahhh I get it now – a learning organisation.
Why you might wonder is this front of mind right now for CTC?
Well, as sometimes happens, two events have come together at the same time (a bit like the Swiss cheese concept with risk).
Each January we review the legislation that relates to CTC. Managing a business like ours that has an industrial complex at its core, there is a bit of legislation to be across. Thirty-two War and Peace’s worth to be exact. As they say ‘ignorance of the law is no defence’ so refreshing ourselves on existing and new legislation is a key role of any executive.
One wonders, however, at what point does someone (presumably a judge) say that the weight of words is such that one person cannot be expected to absorb and retain all that information and at the same time remember their wife’s anniversary?
The other event conspiring against us was, unfortunately, a real workplace accident. Sure it was a ‘subbie’ to a contractor we employed, but any accident in the workplace touches us all and is cause for genuine concern.
Mindful of point one: compliance and the ‘phone book’ at our disposal, our systems kicked into gear with almost Germanic precision (which is somewhat ironic as the WH&S regime in Germany is much less prescriptive than it is here).
We thankfully had all our ducks in a row from signed contractor inductions, Safe Work Method Statements and toolbox talks. Despite all of these presumably proactive control measures, someone still got injured.
Still, following protocol, our Incident Investigation process went into full swing.
Central to this, and any self-respecting incident follow-up, was a risk assessment and fault tree analysis. As we determined, the driver of the excavator failed to look where he was going when he alighted his vehicle, stood on some of the rubble he had created and rolled on his ankle.
He was dealt with in exemplary fashion by the CTC team with foot elevated, oxygen administered, history taken and compression bandage about to be applied when the ambulance arrived. (Perhaps there is a blog here at some later stage about the first-aider – ambulance officer interface. Let’s just say I know what it’s like to be a ball-boy at a State of Origin game….not a meeting of equals!).
Pride aside when all was said and done and the paperwork completed, all in line with the comprehensive Australian Standard on Risk Assessment (AS/NZ/ISO31000:2009 for those interested), our recommendation was that the driver should have looked where he was walking.
Sledge-hammer and nut springs to mind.
Not much attention on the role of the individual in being careful in all the systems. Perhaps to emphasise individual responsibility is the important thing. Just following rules (point 1) does not deliver the culture needed.
Culture is grown not transplanted. Philosopher Charles Taylor reminds us that rules do not contain the principles of their own application. “Application requires that we draw on an unarticulated understanding or ‘sense of things’ – the background”. In other words, situational awareness, context and a deep desire to be safe for myself and my team members.
All this called to mind an interview I heard a couple of years ago on Radio National (ABC) with acknowledged world risk expert Dr John Adams of UCL. Adams coined the now infamous acronym CRAP which stands for Chronic Risk Assessment Psychosis which he identified (somewhat tongue in cheek) a mindset that gets wound-up to a tizz when addressing risk.
What he pointed to with the red-tape approach (point one) and the avoid a payout approach (point two) is an absence of a common sense approach, based, and here is the crux of the matter, on a safety culture.
Culture is often defined as ‘the way we do things around here’. It seems to be this element that is sadly missing in a lot of our approach to risk. Getting team members to think safe intrinsically is what is really needed.
The Germans do it well because they treat their citizens as competent and smart and the populace in general rises to it. If lollypop men were soldiers Germany would have been invaded by Australia. Back in Oz we tend to think lowest common denominator and our populace in general sinks to it.
The concentration on systems imposed by management as a means to avoid responsibility, blame and penalties, occasioned by the need to be compliant means that the individual doesn’t have to heft much on their own. The bosses have put everything in place is the view of the workers. ‘Once I’ve sat in at the toolbox talk, I’m safe’.
Even where this safety thinking is being advocated out into the worksite, through ‘take 5s’ and other tools, they tend to be bureaucratic and burdensome.
There must be a simpler and safer approach where each worker regardless of where they are in the organisation looks out for the fellow worker?
Creating this culture is key. What better place one might ponder to deliver such a culture than Australia where above all (well possibly behind winning at cricket) we prize ‘mateship’.
So the last week or so of trawling our way through legislation and our frenetic risk assessment and incident reporting after the accident seems a world away from making the workplace safer.
A case of a lot of CRAP and not much safety. Work continues on building safety as part of our culture. Risk is not straightforward but let’s not confuse complex with convoluted.