01 Mar MATS GROUP – LATEST STATEMENT ON COVID-19 – MAR 2021
In light of the latest announcement by the UK Government on the easing of lockdown restrictions across the UK, the MATS group has reviewed the options available to us in order to support our industry in maintaining the infrastructure that enables key services to be provided.
In order to work at height on MATS Group telecommunications structures, a worker is currently required to have the following in date certificates as a minimum: –
- MATS Basic Climber and Rescue
- Flat roof / Rooftop Access
- Emergency 1st Aid
- Climbers Medical
- RF Safety Awareness
Whilst the MATS Group acknowledges that some training providers are continuing face to face courses, there are challenges with reduced delegate numbers on a course and overnight accommodation. After risk assessment, some Employers will not allow their people to travel extensively, stay in overnight accommodation or attend face to face training courses.
The MATS Group will allow conditional extensions as outlined below though please note the following statement: –
“In all cases, Employers have a responsibility to ensure that a full risk assessment is carried out on every individual to ensure that the organisation is satisfied they still have the necessary skills and competency to carry out their activities”.
MATS Basic Tower Climbing & Rescue- Extended to 30th June 2021
- The full revalidation course and registration with EUSR should be undertaken wherever practicable.
- The extension is only valid for those climbers who have previously undertaken a EUSR approved Basic Tower Climbing & Rescue course whose certification expired between 20th September 2020 and 30th June 2021. ‘New’ climbers must undertake a full initial EUSR approved Basic Tower Climbing & Rescue course.
Flat Roof / Rooftop Access- Extended to 30th June 2021
- The full revalidation course should be undertaken wherever practicable.
- The extension is only valid for those persons who have previously undertaken a suitable rooftop course whose certification has expired between 20th September 2020 and 30th June 2021. ‘New’ rooftop workers must undertake a full face to face rooftop course.
Emergency 1st Aid Training- Extended to 31st March 2021 (No change from HSE)
First aid providers have resumed first aid training and assessment. In some cases, there remains a back log or limited availability.
FAW or EFAW certificates that expired after 16 March 2020 can remain valid until 31 October 2020 or 6 months from date of expiry, whichever is later. All requalification training for these certificates should be completed by 31 March 2021.
To qualify for the extension, employers must be able to demonstrate that:
- they have made every effort to arrange requalification training as soon as possible and can explain in detail why they have not been able to do so. For example, they must show evidence that staff with expired certificates are booked on to EFAW or FAW requalification courses, if requested by an inspector
- they have adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities to give first aid to any employee who is injured or becomes ill at work
- the level of first aid cover provided remains appropriate for their particular work environment
- the level of first aid provision necessary in high risk settings is fully maintained, eg in construction, agriculture, engineering and chemicals
Rigger Medicals- Extended to 30th June 2021
- A face to face consultation should take place wherever possible. If not possible then a telephone consultation should take place with a medical professional and the new certificate valid for a maximum period of 6 months or;
- If the above cannot be undertaken the individual must complete the MATS medical questionnaire in GN-0005 – Medical requirements for climbing masts and towers
- In either case a new face to face medical must be undertaken as soon as practically possible.
Radio Frequency Safety Awareness- No Extension
- Where RF training expires there is no extension granted as refresher training can be undertaken via online methods.
- ‘New’ climbers or rooftop workers must undertake a full face to face RF course.
Approved RF course providers who may offer an on line option can be found here – https://www.arqiva.com/documentation/gateway-documents/Accepted_Training_Providers_December_2019.pdf.
- The extensions to training certificates and ‘allowance’ of remote training are not a directive by the MATS Group. Employers can still carry out face to face training where possible in accordance with their own risk assessment
- Employers should note that with the exception of RF training, any additional training or measures required to grant extension to a certificate will not confer full and valid certification after the current COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.
- The MATS group will continue to monitor the impacts of the pandemic risks and determine any continuation of the extension periods and the impact on training providers as the recovery to normal operations begins.
- Further information will be posted as the situation develops and we reserve the right to make immediate changes if the HSE requires it.
Chairman – MATS Group
Sent on behalf of the MATS Group