How’s your safety and compliance knowledge?
By Phil Heritage, Training Manager - CORGI Technical Services Ltd
The benefits of an organisation-wide training programme are too big to ignore. It’s an investment in your staff, your organisation and most importantly of course, your tenants. The true cost of choosing not to upskill staff could ultimately be loss of life, as well as loss of reputation, downgrading by the Regulator and the financial cost in terms of legal fees, fines and compensation.
The skillset of an organisation is based on the collective knowledge of all members of staff; staff never operate in isolation; they are always part of wider teams – each dependent on the other to deliver. You are only as strong as your weakest staff member(s).
So where to start with training? If we look at the role of your front-line call handlers – they have a vital role to play in keeping your tenants safe. They are generally the first point of contact for tenants. How that call handler reacts to that call will determine, not only what a tenant thinks of your organisation, but they could also be the sole custodian of the safety of that resident at that point in time.
Do your call handlers know how to respond to the following queries?
• Our CO alarm is going off. What do I do?
• There is staining on the ceiling, it looks awful. Can you re-paint it pls?
• There’s condensation on the windows – assume I just have to live with this?
Do they know what to say to the tenant there and then? For the CO alarm this maybe a straightforward reply. But what about the other two questions? Would the call handler know to probe further – in what room is the staining, is it above an appliance? Similarly, where is the condensation – does this happen when the gas fire is on?
Call handlers need to know what to say to the tenant there and then, but they also need to know what to do following the call. How do they triage these calls – do you have processes and procedures in place to ensure these issues are dealt with? Or could these queries be entered into a database never to see the light of day again? Also do call handlers know the limit of their knowledge – do they know when and how to escalate an issue, as advising in that specific instance is outside their remit?
From a practical point of view, safety starts at the frontline. But from a cultural point of view, it starts at a Board level. Boards not only need to instil a safety culture, but it’s crucial they also have safety and compliance knowledge. Senior members of organisations must ensure that legal compliance obligations are met or exceeded. They also need to understand the skills and knowledge required by those duty holders who have day to day responsibility for compliance within the organisation.
• Are Boards confident that they have the correct people, processes, procedures and information in place?
• How do they manage the gas and electrical compliance regime of their organisation and what areas of the business it impacts upon?
• How do they manage and control the work of external or in-house contractors?
• Is there understanding of the Health and Safety Executive’s Approved Code of Practice ACOP L8 – Legionnaires’ disease and the Duty Holders responsibility?
• Are processes in place to effectively manage asbestos in buildings and meet requirements as defined within The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2012?
• Who is responsible for Fire Safety? Does the organisation fulfil their obligations under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005?
• Lifts - do Directors understand how to apply LOLER and PUWER and when the Health and Safety at Work etc Act will apply? Have they organised ‘Thorough Examinations’?
• Are nominated Duty Holders aware of their responsibilities and are fully compliant?
‘I didn’t know I needed to know that’ will not stand up in a court of law. Get qualified, get your staff qualified, get your Boards qualified!
Contact us to discuss your specific requirements firstname.lastname@example.org
Over CORGI’s 50-year history, we have become the UK’s leading technical experts in compliance, gas and electrical safety training. We offer fully-accredited and regulated courses for both junior and senior team members, to equip them with the skills and knowledge to succeed in their field of expertise.
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