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Proof of competence?

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Hello all,

I just wondered if anyone knows of an accredited training one can take to prove competency in building a stage platform or a small truss structure? It's something I have noticed more and more clients asking for (particularly schools). It seems there is no real regulating body on a lot of this stuff - until you get into larger builds we're not really covered under the same umbrella as scaffolding, and there's no way I can justify the cost of a structural engineer for a few litedeck. 

Most of the HSE guidelines I've read define competence as a combination of training and experience but the vast majority of people I know have learned on the job - excluding actual riggers that is. 

Even the IStructE Temporary Demountable Structures guide repeatedly mentions the responsibility of the client to get proof of competency, but it never actually gives an example of what that proof would consist of.

I'd appreciate some guidance on this. 


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I know maltbury would come out to us and sign off on the work, but that was from their plans. I assume they would, along with others, supply a vaguely formal bit of paper for stage.

Truss etc I did the 3 day at total rigging YEARS back, far far surpassed anything I was doing at the time, but it made college happy. The issue will be what does the client want ? its all well and good having some paper from a brand, but what if you need b brand? or c? 

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There is no easy answer because what the school is doing is fudging their own legal responsibility by asking you to prove your competence because they are not competent to judge. No ticket shows competence because it has no qualitative validity and does not indicate training PLUS experience PLUS knowledge PLUS relevance to the work in question. Only an experienced manager observing a worker at work can get remotely near assessing the worker's competence, demanding "tickets" is a soft-option get-out. 

Learning on the job is what an apprenticeship has been since long before they were formalised in 1563, don't knock it. It is the only way to turn training into experience to create competence. 

I can't help you out of the fix but it may help to ask the client what form of accreditation they want. Most times they haven't got a clue themselves and it is their legal duty not yours as you so rightly point out. There is one minor glitch there;


Schools must appoint a competent person to ensure they meet their health and safety duties. A competent person is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to give sensible guidance about managing the health and safety risks at the school.

Know a single school which complies? I don't.


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12 hours ago, kerry davies said:

Know a single school which complies? I don't.

We do! We have a H&S officer, who chairs a H&S committee.

It would be impossible for one person to be competent in all areas of H&S, especially in a school, so the committee is made up of people who represent various areas of the school who are competent in their area. The main being Estates, Sports, Science, Medical, D&T and so on which seems to work quite well. As a committee, pretty much all bases are covered.

Whether or not other schools have similar, I suspect not in the state sector (we are independent).

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  • 2 months later...

I remember many years ago, a local EHO objected to my application for an outdoors laser show. His prime "worry" was it might be dangerous to aircraft (a reasonable assumption). I asked how he qualified his response and what actual dangers he thought the laser posed; and he couldnt provide any answers, but still didnt want to give permission.

Luckily, I had already contacted the CAA (as required for outdoor shows) and had their permission granted. I showed their letter to the EHO and said if the CAA say yes and they know a lot more about lasers and aircraft then you do, whats your reason for saying no? He begrudgingly said yes.😀

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