NFDC Host World’s First High Reach Training Course
- 05 May 2012
- Company & Industry News
UK sets new high reach standard with world's first dedicated training course.
The National Federation of Demolition Contractors and its training arm the National Demolition Training Group have jointly hosted a dedicated training course on the safe use of high reach demolition specification excavators. Thought to be the first course of its kind anywhere in the world, the new course builds upon the operating principles detailed in the Federation's recently published High Reach Guidance Notes and sets a new standard in the operation of these highly specialised machines.
The course was developed in conjunction with training specialist Duncan Ruddal and is designed to provide experienced excavator operators with a firm foundation in the operation of high reach machines with a working height of up to 30 metres. Held over a three-day period – the first two at the National Demolition Training Group's Hemel Hempstead headquarters; the third at Komatsu UK's manufacturing plant near Newcastle – the course covers all the key basic operating practices included in the NFDC's High Reach Guidance. Course content includes machine design, machine guarding, visibility, stability and ground pressure, drop and exclusion zones, start-up and shut-down procedures, and machine maintenance. Particular attention is paid to structural awareness, site suitability, and ground conditions.
"Thankfully, the UK has an exceptional safety record with the use of high reach demolition excavators. But the incidents that have occurred have generally been the result of failing to identify underground voids when tracking a machine across a site or operating the machine wrongly for the type of building," says NFDC CEO Howard Button. "To avoid these problems in the future, a large part of the new course content has been developed to ensure that operators are fully aware of their surroundings and the specific challenges presented by each new site."
The inaugural course was attended by experienced operators from some of the UK's leading demolition companies, and the course content was well received by all of them. "The course was very informative," says AR Demolition's Tom Poole. "All the trainers involved have a great first-hand knowledge of the business." Poole's comments are echoed by those of Paul Best from Erith Contractors. "The NDTG trainers have done it all before and they clearly know what they're talking about. The course provides a great foundation."
NDTG training group manager Sophie Francis, who attended the first course herself, says that the delivery of the world's first dedicated high reach excavator training course was a real team effort. "The course was written by Duncan Ruddal with input from Howard Button. The practical part of the course was held at Komatsu UK's Birtley factory. And the cost of each trainee's participation was covered by a grant from CITB-ConstructionSkills," she says. "Without their input and enthusiasm, this course could not have taken place and the NFDC and NDTG owe all of them a huge debt of gratitude."