What is a Safety Passport?
A Safety Passport is like any other Passport; it identifies the holder as having undertaken basic health and safety awareness training and allows the holder access to “passport controlled” workplaces. Many industries insist that all workers hold a Safety Passport before they can gain access to the workplace or even obtain work.
All Safety Passport holders attend a basic 1 day course after which they are provided with course booklets and a robust credit card size plastic ID card (the Passport itself) made using a “holocote” finish to ensure the passport is tamper proof. The Passport contains a photo and personal information of the holder, emblems to indicate what training has been undertaken and various security features including a tailored signature strip, a custom designed foil hologram and a printing process that embeds the dye into the card – rather like the new style driving license.
All Safety Passport holders are registered with the SPA on a central database so verification is an easy process as clients can interrogate this database. Passports are issued by the SPA, normally within fifteen days of completing a course.
Why do we need such a scheme?
The Heath and Safety at Work Act requires employers to ensure adequate training is given to employees and that self employed persons (freelancers) also obtain adequate training even if this means they have to pay for the training themselves. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations requires employers to train their employees adequately at the recruitment/induction stage, before exposure to any new or increased risk, or when transferring them to work using different equipment or processes, the self-employed must also obtain this kind of training.
Those who use the services of contractors (including self-employed freelancers) have a legal duty to ensure the appoint contracts who “competent” and aware of their health and safety duties and responsibilities, safety passports are of great value and assistance in helping with this process.
As well as the Health and Safety at Work Act, many of the specific regulations that fall under the Act require training to be provided (or obtained) as a means of controlling safety, they include:
- The Manual Handling Regulations
- The Noise at Work Regulations
- The Display Screen Equipment Regulations
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
- The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations
- The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations
- The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations
- The Work at Height Regulations
Training is a means of achieving COMPETENCE as well as a means of increasing SAFETY and PRODUCTIVITY.
Converting information into safe working practices helps to establish a SAFETY CULTURE in the workplace (as opposed to a RISK CULTURE).
Many companies with a high turnover of casual or part time staff, such as crewing or stewarding companies don’t see the value of training because they feel that staff are not with them very long and the costs would be prohibitive. These companies should consider offering training that is of real value as it is very likely that there would be a better retention of staff and that staff turnover would be reduced, the staff remaining would also be safer and of a better quality.
- Safety Passports are a very simple way for workers (including the self-employed) who move from one contract or company to another to show employers they have received basic training.
- Safety Passports save time and money because workers need less induction training.
- They reduce accidents and ill health at work.
- They can have significant impact in reducing pollution incidents, minimising waste and contributing to a cleaner environment for everyone.
- Companies know that workers have been trained to a common, recognised and validated standard.
- They show a companies commitment to having safe and healthy workers.
- They help promote good practice in the supply chain between contractors and companies.
- Insurance and liability premiums may be reduced if a company can show that all workers have basic health and safety training.
- Employers can demonstrate legal compliance in providing health and safety training to employees and the self-employed also demonstrate legal compliance if they undertake such training.
- Several attempts have been made at introducing formal training and qualifications into our industry with varying degrees of success, including the BTEC scheme run by the PSA.
An important area sadly neglected in training programmes are the local crew, stage hands and those entering the industry, a Safety Passport scheme would be ideal for not only them but all who work in our line of work. It has long been agreed that training holds many benefits but unfortunately in our industry not many people bother to undergo any kind of formal training and therefore do not reap these benefits. No matter how well trained individual staff may be they cannot operate safely unless the whole working environment has a suitable safety management system in place. This is a fantastic opportunity for the industry to take charge of its own destiny; we can regulate ourselves or eventually be regulated by others who have no idea of our methodology or what we do.
What is the SPA and why the SPA scheme?
SPA is the Safety Pass Alliance, the leading health and safety passport body with a strong reputation for delivering health and safety awareness courses.
SPA quality control procedures – tried and tested methods of designing effective practical training programmes – are an important component in providing peace of mind about the scheme’s security.
This scheme is the leading multi-industry safety passport training scheme. A significant proportion of key industry sectors are already in partnership with the SPA developing tailored industry-specific training packs.
This industry-led, nationally recognised scheme reflects Health and Safety Executive (HSE) syllabus guidance.
Who is the course aimed at and who should obtain a Passport?
Everyone! — Employees, self-employed (freelancers) and employers. This particular training courses has been designed specifically for Event Technical Production Services: Production, Tour and Stage Managers, Stage Hands, Lighting and Sound Crew, Stage and Set Builders, Backline Technicians, Electricians, Caterers, Safety Stewards, Drivers, Riggers, Laser, Pryo and Firework Technicians, Video and Projection Crew.
What are the costs?
Course costs are approximately £1500 for a group of 15 persons; this includes SPA administration charges, course booklets and the passport itself. All course fees are Tax deductible and may also be eligible to grant aid. Prices are by quotation according to location.
How long is the course?
One day starting at 09.00 and finishing at 17.00, this includes a tea/coffee break in the morning and afternoon and one hour for lunch.
What is the content of the course?
The content of the course is set and produced by the SPA with additional information gathered by the PSA during the industry mapping exercise carried out during the development of BTEC qualifications and other training initiatives. An industry working party formally decide upon the final content.
The content is as follows:
- Module 1 – Organising for Safety
- Module 2 – Workplace Safety
- Module 3 – Plant and Machinery
- Module 4 – Health
- Module 5 – Procedures
- Module 6 – The Environment
How is the course delivered?
The course is a mixture of spoken word, videos, power point/OHP presentation. Assessment tests will be included at the end of each course module.
Candidates need only bring note pad, pen and two passport size photos (for Passport I.D. card) and their National Insurance numbers, no previous experience is required. The maximum group size for any course is 15 persons. Instructors can deliver courses on company premises if facilities are available, in addition courses are arranged in various parts of the country for individuals, the self-employed and small companies who do not have sufficient numbers of staff to warrant an exclusive course or facilities to host a course.
Facilities that are required to host a course are quite simple, a suitable room (that must be conducive to learning e.g. comfortable temperature, no disturbances and toilet facilities near by) equipped with tables and chairs for the comfortable accommodation of 18 persons and that can be darkened to show videos/PowerPoint/OHPs. Tea and coffee making facilities are most welcome.
How long does a passport last?
Other industries have requested that passports are valid for three years. An emblem on the Passport clearly indicates what training the holder has undertaken. Health and Safety regulations often change and are updated and so after three years a one day refresher course is required.
How is the scheme promoted?
For the scheme to be as widely accepted as possible we need the help and assistance of everyone to help in the promotion. Freelancers can spread the word verbally, companies, venues and promoters can help by making the scheme conditional, already some major venues and organisations are supporting the scheme and more are expected to follow very soon. The industry trade press have also made some generous offers of publicity that will be graciously accepted and all relevant trade associations and interested parties are invited to be proactive by publicising and promoting the scheme.
What is important to remember is that this is a continuous long term project for the benefit of whole industry.
Who are the trainers?
Stuart Cooper firstname.lastname@example.org
All trainers hold an approved NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) or British Safety Council (or equivalent) qualification, have proven experience as a teacher/trainer or instructor of health and safety, have attended the Passport training course covering the sections they wish to train and have proven long term practical industry knowledge and experience.
When should venues, service companies, managers, tour managers, production managers and those responsible for hiring crew and production services start asking for Safety Passports?
We have started running courses so an advance warning to the lead up period can be given now so that persons can apply, attend courses and get passports issued. You should advise staff (including freelance staff and suppliers) that you will be introducing the Safety Passport scheme and that they have (say for instance 1 year) to obtain a Passport
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