MATS Group Statement on COVID-19

In March 2020, due to the restrictions imposed by the UK Government due to COVID-19, the MATS Group proposed an interim extension to certain certifications required for working at height. This original training extension expired on 20th September 2020. 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

Apart from Emergency 1st aid where the HSE has agreed an extension to 31st October 2020 (see below), there will be no further extensions to any of the other certification.  Training providers are still operating and able to take bookings for courses though it is worth noting not to leave booking a course until the last minute to ensure there is enough availability.

Emergency 1st Aid Training- Extended to 31st October 2020

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

This guidance now applies to employers in England, Scotland and Wales. 

General Notes:-

  • 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 situation changes.
  • Further information will be posted as the situation develops and we reserve the right to make immediate changes if the HSE requires it.

    Stewart Mardle
    Chairman – MATS Group
    Sent on behalf of the MATS Group