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PASMA Training; An Essential Concern When Working At Height

Sep 11, 2008
The Prefabricated Access Suppliers' and Manufacturers' Association; known to those in the industry as PASMA has existed for over thirty years as a body controlling working standards. It continuing mission has been to improve the safety of those working at height and more specifically those working on mobile access equipment. The training programmes developed by PASMA have done a great deal in improving standards within many industries. The result of the training; an official PASMA photo card means that the holder is able to oversee the use, assembly and dismantling of access equipment all over the land.

Naturally PASMA possess the best knowledge when it comes to working with access equipment, hence its training has been focussed towards safety issues and reducing the numbers of deaths and injuries on sites. In 2005 Work at Height Regulations were released by the government to create a legal determination of the responsibilities of both employers and employees when it comes to working at height. Due to this legislation PASMA has had to adapt it training programmes to meet the needs of government regulations. In addition the body also regulates the use of equipment through auditing processes. The ultimate objective is to make the use of access equipment safer for all.

Access towers are used in all manner of industries, from window cleaning through to decorating and construction. It is thanks to the training programmes that these industries now have a uniform safety procedure whenever a worker is carrying out tasks at height. Members of the association include manufacturers meaning that it can actively work towards making equipment safer whilst taking a pincer approach to training and safe usage.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 ensure that any assembly, erection, use and dismantling of access equipment will require a competent person in situ carrying out the task. Thankfully the completion of a PASMA certified training programme means that operatives will be deemed as competent in the eyes of the law. For those who use access equipment regularly, training is a necessity, ensuring that safety regulations are met at all times.

Competency is defined as anyone with sufficient training that is able to show a professional level of knowledge concerned with access equipment usage. Part of this competency includes recognising risks such as overhanging wires or areas of loose debris; ensuring that workers are always kitted out with appropriate safety gear such as hard hats and harnesses is also part of this. In addition, the competent person should be able to recognise any potential problems with the equipment such as damage and unstable footing.

Training will normally be available at two levels, basic an advanced. While basic programmes will leave the inductee with a level of competency, advanced courses give the participant a far more all encompassing knowledge base. This will allow them to understand the issues pertaining to the use of chimney scaffolds, cantilever access towers and equipment with bridging applications. It is also expected that after undergoing an advanced module, graduates will also have knowledge in first aid and the methods to isolate a fall site for further inspection.

As previously stated PASMA have been vital in creating safer working standards for those who utilise access equipment. Their expertise in the area also means that they are often consulted when the government wishes to adapt its regulations. This role ensures that training programmes are always up to date and meet the legal requirements enshrined in legislation.
About the Author
Regulatory compliance expert Thomas Pretty looks into the reasons behind the need for PASMA training for all of those who work at height.
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