15 Jun 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 is due to expire on the 20th June 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
Whilst the MATS Group acknowledges that some training providers are now offering face to face courses, there are still different rules from the UKs devolved Parliaments in terms of what business is ‘allowed’ and after risk assessment, some Employers will still not allow their people to travel extensively, stay in overnight accommodation or attend face to face training courses.
With this in mind, the MATS Group will allow conditional extensions in accordance with the following:-
MATS Basic Tower Climbing & Rescue- Extended to 20th September 2020
- The full revalidation course and registration with EUSR should be undertaken wherever practicable.
- Any person whose certification expired prior to the 17th July 2020 must undertake a course before 17th July 2020 through an EUSR approved training provider which covers the theoretical components listed in Addendum A.
- Any person whose certification expires after the 17th July 2020 must undertake a course prior to the date of expiration through an EUSR approved training provider which covers the theoretical components listed in Addendum A.
- Employers must ensure that they carry out competency checks or facilitate practical exercises to ensure that all climbers have the requisite practical skills required to climb and carry out a rescue safely.
- The extension is only valid for those climbers who have previously undertaken a EUSR approved Basic Tower Climbing & Rescue course whose certification has expired between 20th March 2020 and 20th September 2020. ‘New’ climbers must undertake a full initial EUSR approved Basic Tower Climbing & Rescue course.
Flat Roof / Rooftop Access- Extended to 20th September 2020
- The full revalidation course should be undertaken wherever practicable.
- Any person whose certification expired prior to the 17th July 2020 must undertake a course before 17th July 2020 which covers the theoretical components listed in Addendum A.
- Any person whose certification expires after the 17th July 2020 must undertake a course prior to the date of expiration which covers the theoretical components listed in Addendum A.
- Employers must ensure that they carry out competency checks or facilitate practical exercises to ensure that all climbers have the requisite practical skills required for access and work on rooftops.
- The extension is only valid for those persons who have previously undertaken a suitable rooftop course whose certification has expired between 20th March 2020 and 20th September 2020. ‘New’ rooftop workers must undertake a full face to face rooftop course.
Emergency 1st Aid Training- Extended to 30th September
- The persons training expired on or after the 16th March and they were unable to access requalification training due to the coronavirus outbreak
- The Employer can justify why the individual was not able to requalify.
- The Employer can demonstrate that they took reasonable steps to try and undertake the training
- Where requalification training becomes available, the Employer makes arrangements for the individual to attend as soon as practicable.
Rigger Medicals- Extended to 20th September
- A face to face or telephone consultation should take place with a medical professional 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
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
Theoretical elements to be covered for climbing and rescue, and rooftop training extensions:-
-State the national legislation relevant to Working at Height- cover work at height hierarchy
State the legislation relevant to equipment inspection
State how to inspect PFPE for any defects.
Identify defects in a range of PFPE.
Demonstrate how to correctly fit a harness.
Demonstrate how to correctly attach fall arrest systems to a harness.
Demonstrate how to correctly apply lanyard hooks.
Demonstrate how to park double lanyard hooks so as not to bypass the absorber device.
Demonstrate how to apply hooks at a suitable height to minimise fall factors.
Demonstrate how to use fall arrest lanyards appropriately when the steelwork is too large for lanyard hooks.
State how to select an anchor point which can support the loads that will be applied to it.
State the type of anchor points which would be unsafe.
Demonstrate how to attach a lanyard correctly to the ladder or steelwork system.
Demonstrate how a fall arrest system is used in addition to the work positioning lanyard.
Demonstrate how to attach a work positioning lanyard correctly to the harness.
Demonstrate how to lean back and trust the work positioning lanyard leaving hands-free.
State when and where additional fall protection equipment will be required for safe working at height.
The rescue hierarchy
**The MATS Group expects that suitable coverage of these elements should take no less than 2.5hrs**
For rooftop training the following should be covered in addition to that above:-
None work at height rooftop hazards including biological (guano), chemicals (emissions), environmental (weather conditions), mechanical (machinery) etc
Use of work restraint equipment
The dangers of flat roofs