From the outside, it might seem like construction workers need nothing more than a few skills to get by, but the reality is much different. Whether it’s operating heavy equipment in terrible weather or scaling dangerously tall heights, construction requires a wide range of physical and mental skills to ensure all work is completed on time, on budget, and most importantly: with safety at the forefront.
With 2024 just around the corner, now is the perfect time for construction workers to assess their current skill sets and focus on what they can brush up on for the year ahead. The following suggestions are a great place to get ahead as 2024 approaches.
1. EWPA Yellow Card training
Elevating Work Platforms (EWPs) are commonly used in the construction industry. To ensure they are operating EWPs safely, construction workers should invest in EWPA Yellow Card training. This training gives workers the skills and knowledge needed to safely operate EWPs, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries on the job.
EWPA Yellow Card training includes training in the use of various types of MEWPs, including vertical lift, scissor lift, boom lift, trailer lift, truck mounted lift and advanced booms.
2. TSHA Gold Card training
Similar to EWPs, telehandlers are widely used in construction. TSHA Gold Card training provides workers with the necessary expertise to operate telehandlers safely.
TSHA Gold Card training includes a variety of TSH attachment training modules, including forks, crane jib, earthmoving bucket, and ‘other’, for any other type of attachment such a bale grabs and tire handlers.
3. Chain of Responsibility training
Safety extends beyond operating equipment, it involves the entire process, from loading and transporting to unloading. Chain of Responsibility training, available through the Hire and Rental Industry Association (HRIA) website, educates workers on their legal responsibilities in ensuring the safe consignment, load restraint and transportation of plant and equipment.
4. Sun safety
Construction workers often face extreme weather conditions, especially during the scorching summer months. State regulators provide comprehensive guidance on working in the heat, emphasising the importance of sun safety. Workers should take the time to read up on these guidelines and take them seriously to protect themselves from heat and UV-related illnesses – especially with summer just around the corner.
5. Mental health training
The importance of mental health within the construction industry can’t be understated. The stress and demands of construction work can take a toll on mental health, making it essential to provide support and resources for workers.
This could be your sign to go more in-depth on mental health training and take the lead on implementing it in your workplace. Organisations like Beyond Blue can encourage workers to prioritise their mental wellbeing.
6. EWPA MEWP Supervisor course
Supervisors and site managers play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of construction projects involving multiple EWPs. The EWPA Supervisor course equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to oversee the safe operation of these machines and manage workers effectively.
The course has been designed specifically for those who are either currently working in (or working towards) a safety officer or site manager role, where they are responsible for the planning, supervising, or managing the safe use of EWPs. This course covers machine selection, planning, prevention of incidents, putting the right procedures in place and much more, all aimed at keeping workers safe.
7. Site induction training
Site inductions are vital, especially for younger or apprentice workers. Statistics show that younger workers are more likely to be involved in accidents due to a lack of experience or knowledge, peer pressure, time pressure, poor communication, and other factors. Proper site inductions help ensure that safety procedures are well understood and adhered to. If you’re a manager or leader within your team, take this time to review your current induction training processes and look for ways to improve them for 2024.
8. Advanced Boom Course
For operators working with larger boom equipment featuring more technical specifications, an advanced boom course is essential. These specialised courses ensure that operators are well-prepared to handle complex machinery, reducing the risk of accidents and equipment damage.
Once completed, each participant should be able to understand features unique to advanced booms, understand specific hazards related to advanced booms, and have the knowledge and skill to operate advanced booms safely.
9. Verification of competency for EWPs
It’s not enough to simply undergo training on one make and model of EWP and apply this to all machine types; construction workers must demonstrate they are competent to operate the specific EWP that has been selected for the job they are carrying out. Verification of competency assessments are used to ensure workers are not only knowledgeable but proficient in operating the specific EWPs in their workplace.
10. WHS legislation
A basic understanding of Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation is essential for all construction workers. Knowing their duties as a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) helps create a culture of safety and compliance on construction sites. If you’re feeling rusty, take the time to review the legislation and brush up on anything you might have forgotten.
The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect, plan, and set new goals for the new year. If you’re in construction, make brushing up on your workplace skills one of your key focuses for 2024. By prioritising training, safety, and mental health, construction workers can look forward to a brighter and safer future in the industry – and help boost their careers while they’re at it.