There appears to be some confusion about the use of staff that are not ‘fully qualified’. Whilst this often relates to the use of chainsaws and/or climbing, this post is applicable to all aspects of work. I am not going to get involved in a health and safety debate about whether a qualified person should be able to teach another individual, often referred to as ‘on the job training’. I have seen a variety of conflicting views on this. Instead I am going to talk about this subject from an insurance perspective.
Some insurers require all staff to be ‘suitably trained with recognised qualifications’ such as those from NPTC. These policies don’t have a provision in the cover for somebody being trained whilst working on site, even if it is by a qualified and experienced individual.
We have seen a spike in the number of claims relating to ‘unqualified or part-qualified staff’. This is a real can of worms as it brings into the discussion industry trainees and apprenticeships.
If you breach the ‘qualified staff’ condition of your policy, the insurance company could take action against you (the insured) for breach of contract. I am all for upping standards and whilst this seems like a rant from the insurance side, the ultimate winner is the Forestry and Arb industry. The industry safety record is appalling and there are far too many injuries involving ‘trainees’. The long-term answer has to be statutory regulation. Yes costs will go up, but so will your prices. More importantly the safety standards will increase as the cowboys leave for pastures new.
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