Training and supervision
Poor supervision and inadequate training are two of the main causes of accidents. The law requires that all workers must receive adequate training, including refresher training. It also makes good business sense to make sure your employees are working efficiently and safely.
Training can be in-house, as long as you have competent staff to provide it. It can also be external or a combination of both. It must cover the type of machine and work the operator will be expected to do. This is important if the operator works on more than one machine.
Training and supervision
Poor supervision and inadequate training are two of the main causes of accidents. The law requires that all workers must receive adequate training and refresher training. It also makes good business sense to make sure your employees are working efficiently and safely. Hear an interview with a training provider, an employee and the HSE which explains why training is so important.
Who should be trained?
- Machine operators
- People who assist in the machining process, such as taking off, feeding and loading the workpieces
- People who set, clean and maintain the machines.
The training and supervision needs for each operator will vary. You will need to assess their needs carefully and make sure that training is appropriate for their age and experience.
When should training be given?
New starters are likely to have the greatest training needs. You also need to think about refresher training for trained, qualified and experienced operators at least every three to five years, sooner if a risk assessment identifies a particular training need. Operators can lose some skills if they don’t use them regularly.
Who needs refresher training?
Refresher training is important:
- for operators who ’stand-in‘ occasionally for the regular operator - at least every three years
- for someone coming back to a machine they have not used for a while
- when the system of work changes
- when new controls have been fitted
- when new machines or equipment have been brought in
- after an incident or near miss to show how the incident can be avoided in future
- after any change in legislation or new guidance
- for all staff every three to five years
All wood machining training schemes, including those as part of a joinery, furniture and wood programme, should include the following elements:
General health and safety skills include an awareness of the health and safety risks and how to control them by:
- the correct use of lifting aids
- the correct use of protective equipment for eyes, ears and hands
- keeping the workshop tidy
- sensible behaviour
- awareness of other operators
Operators need practical instruction in the safe operation of the machine, including:
- its dangers and limitations during use, for example, the risks from taking off, dropping on and kickback
- the main causes of accidents
- safe working practices including correct use of guards, jigs and other protection devices (push-sticks etc), brakes, dust extraction and use of correct tooling.
Familiarisation involves on-the-job training under close supervision.
After the training has taken place the operator’s competence should be assessed to see if the training has been successful. The assessor must be someone who knows the machining process, its risks and the safe working practices that should be used.
Operators can only be classed as competent when they can demonstrate that they use the required knowledge and safe working practice all the time.
A competent worker should be able to demonstrate:
- that they can select the correct machine, tooling and protection devices
- the ability and confidence to say ’this is the wrong machine for this job, it can be done more safely on…’
- what the guards do and how to use and adjust them properly, as well as any other protection devices. For example, on a circular saw, why you need a riving knife and how to set it and adjust the top guard
- a knowledge of safe methods of working including appropriate selection of jigs, holders, push-sticks and similar protection appliances
- their understanding of the legal requirements for the guards to be used correctly
- a knowledge of the nature of the wood and the hazards that this can cause, such as kickback, snatching and ejection.
Once the operator has received the necessary training and has demonstrated their competence, it is good practice to authorise them in writing for the machines and operations that they can use.
There are several specialist training providers accredited to awarding bodies such as the City and Guilds Institute and PIABC (the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining’s approved awarding organisation).
See also training providers details in Useful links.
Find out more
- Supervising for safety in woodworking INDG440
- Safe use of woodworking machinery - Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (ACOP)