SMSTS courses are, in theory, all about safety. In that sense, I suppose anything which makes work on construction sites safer is a good thing in principle. What we are faced with in UK construction, though, is too much of a good thing! I’ve noticed that recent adverts for site management are beginning to ask for applicants with Scaffold Inspection Certificates, Plant Inspection Certificates and a plethora of others.
Now all this isn’t too bad for those with permanent jobs and whose employers are paying for them to attend the SMSTS courses. For freelancers, it’s financially crippling to have to pay for them and to lose money for the days spent attending them! Anyway, what was wrong with the scaffolders putting their inspection notices on their staging and inspecting regularly? They know more about it than even I do, and I’m a right clever so-and-so!
But let me give you four reasons why I think that having a young graduate being able to become a Site Manager on a quite early stage is normally a really bad idea:
1. Lack of on site experience
These youngsters – and I know, because I’ve had them on sites – haven’t got the experience and sense of self-preservation to even look both ways before they step in front of a JCB! They have just walked away with a Construction Project Management Degree and pre-qualifications for a SMSTS Course, but they haven’t actually faced any of the daily practical challenges that people working for years on site have.
2. No experience with using tools safely
They have absolutely no idea as to whether or not tools are being used in a safe manner! This is terrifying, if you consider that construction is all about the tools. Severe injuries can happen in no time and that’s why tools should not be trusted on inexperienced hands.
3. An on site rookie can’t identify the guy who is a threat for the rest
The last thing they have is the ability to identify the guy on the site who is a danger to himself and others! It’s surely a long process to become capable of understanding which one of your co-workers have a problematic behavior. On top of that, it takes even more experience in order to be in position to protect these people from their own selves.
4. If you can’t find the danger, you may be the danger
They, themselves, are usually the major safety risk that has to be closely watched by the experienced guys! Many times I’ve seen a Ganger man grab one and drag him to safety! For any of these youngsters reading this blog try this having a go at this health and safety advice.
So there you go – the worst advice about SMSTS courses is that they automatically make someone a manager who will run a safe site!