Trainer fights building site ‘ban’

News Story
- 20 Feb 2014 ( #655 ) - Rotherham, United Kingdom
3 min read
A UK forklift and plant training firm has started an online petition against what it calls the practice of refusing fully qualified plant and construction workers on building sites, and is urging government representatives to help.

Phil Renner, the owner of Rotherham-based Fork Lift & Plant Training recently alerted Forkliftaction.com News to his online petition, which he set up this month.

"This is now a national problem," Renner says, adding that details of his petition have also been sent to the EU in Brussels. "If the UK Government will not stop this practice, we will get an EU directive to the effect, which they will then have to implement."

Renner started the petition when he was following up on complaints from operators who had trained and gained certification, only to be refused access to work sites.

He claims employers are now dictating the certification workers must have to work on construction sites, rejecting many employees who fulfill all Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requirements.

"I cannot, as a small business, get into legal battles with multinational companies - even though this is refusing legally trained workers onto sites and putting training companies out of business.

"We are not saying ours is the only valid training and we do recognise (the training certificates demanded by construction firms)," Renner explains. "All we want is an even playing field for all training schemes."

He says the practice of refusing entry and even kicking workers off construction sites where they had previously been working started about two years before - on the UK's largest construction sites and rail projects - but only came to light about nine months ago.

Renner is worried for his industry. He has associates who are "confused, angry and being forced either out of business or (have) to retrain again for stupid costs when they already have the relevant legal qualifications".

He has approached local members of Parliament from the UK Conservative and Labour Parties, who have not responded to his emails. Only the GMB Union, a general union which represents over 600,000 UK workers, has backed his online petition, which he says companies are endorsing because they know the practice in question is "totally wrong and needs sorting out".

Renner says he and his associates' training schemes are accredited by one of the four UK accrediting bodies that meet with the HSE twice a year to discuss and set the standards for testing operators on all construction, plant and warehouse equipment.

"Apart from these, there are hundreds of companies with very experienced instructors who train to HSE standards, which is the Government approved code of practice (ACOP) that complies with HASAWA (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974), LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment) and PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment) regulations. These too are valid, legal and reliable training schemes. According to the construction companies, the certificates gained by operators with these legal schemes are useless."

Forkliftaction.Com News contacted the British Industrial Truck Association and other UK training providers but did not receive a response by press time.
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