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    Happy to advise anyone about safety, been a safety trainer in education for 30 years so I have a lot of experience and knowledge of what can be done. I have the outlook make it possible not don’t do it!


    Hello Mindmapper1, I have separately posted on safety accreditation and am keen for advice. H&S advice is often based on assigning “suitable persons” to ensure these targets are met. Is it enough for shedders with experience to set accreditation for members to use our machinery? is it always necessary to have specialist trainers do this work?
    many thanks for any advice



    Well as with all things h&s related there is never a straight answer! It’s about ensuring competence which sometimes is not easy, usually very difficult when someone is overly keen or professes to have loads of years experience but is unwilling to listen to correction or advice. As this is not a business I would go with the low level and ever even has to show their competence on all powered machines. Things like milling, engineering lathes, welding and cutting metal with plasma would in my opinion need to be looked at differently.
    I think there is quite a lot of work to do as there are lots of things to consider.
    I hope that helps. Tim


    Thanks for that. In a past life I have dealt with CQC and their love of written protocols, processes and audits.
    Even the government H&S website suggests the use of experienced staff/members to help set the protocols.
    My concern is that we set the bar with our own risk assessments and train all members but then there is an accident that the insurers wont cover or the H&S executive hammer us because they dont feel our own levels were set high enough.
    Or we start paying independent companies to set the levels. We have a welding area that now has to conform to “Hot Working” regulations.
    But then, as a charitable concern, with members rather than employees, our members can use whatever equipment they want at home, without any accreditation, yet cannot at the shed.
    And if I hire a chain saw from a ToolStation, do I have to show a certificate of competence.
    I really dont want to over complicate this, but when I assume there are shedders all over the country using machinery, is there not a set of protocols we could all work from?



    Education is notoriously cautious with things like safety with things being not allowed left right and centre so I will always come at this from that angle as it is my back ground. Insurance companies are only interested in competence because thats what the law requires for most things unless it is specifically written into law to be different.
    There are very few legally binding national standards for training and competence for the things we are talking about and those we must follow. The biggest issue will be/should be things which are made under the associations name and then given, sold or gifted to a third party because then there is a liability issue.
    Unless the insurance deems differently then I would suggest we take the line that we do as they do in education and training which is to follow BS4163:2014 which covers every bit of kit that we would normally use from welding downwards to hand tools. We need to PAT any electrical kit or product made. Members should demonstrate to a competent person(s) that they have basic skills to work in an associations shed, that all members are given a H&S policy and expected to follow it. That Risk Assessments are produced for the tasks/materials etc being used and undertaken.
    Yes if you go to hire a chainsaw then you have to produce a certificate of competence and the same goes for working at height, but the hire company will also provide (in my experience pretty poor) ‘training’ on delivery of a piece of kit. You can go to B&Q and buy a chainsaw no questions asked, do what you like at home as long as it does not affect your neighbours. However the minute something goes wrong and there is an investigation then thats when the issues will start about competence.
    I used to do some work for years with REMAP and we made kit for physically disadvantage people, there was never a problem about how we did something but we had to ensure what was made was constructed in such a way that it could not fail. This was sometimes an issue.
    Lots to think about here, starting point look at what the insurance company are expecting, they need to be asked directly in writing and then they cannot say they weren’t.


    Hello Tim,

    Many thanks for the well thought out reply. Our Shed has worked for many years and some of these issues have already been addressed. Thanks for the idea on British Standards, Ill look at that and I shall be more direct with our insurers.
    A lot comes down to who is classed as competent but I guess this is only tested when there is a problem.
    I have to say i hadn’t considered the issues of items produced by the shedders.

    Perhaps I am over thinking this whole area and we need to go with common sense attitude.

    Again, many thanks for a thought provoking response
    David Sawyer

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