British Safety Services – 2019 Press Release

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25 years since first NEBOSH course delivered internationally

In1994, BSS were the first organisation to deliver a NEBOSH National Certificate outside of the UK. 

25 years ago, British Safety Services (BSS) gained approval to deliver the first NEBOSH National General Certificate outside of the UK, in Borneo to the oil and gas industry.  NEBOSH at the time only employed only 5 staff.  BSS Founder Pat McLoughlin said, “It took some persuading in 1994 for the NEBOSH management to agree we could deliver courses overseas.  We could see a demand and were delighted when they agreed.  To think that now international training accounts for around 75% of NEBOSH’s income.”

The course in Borneo had 20 students of which 19 paid for their own training (which was equivalent to about 2-3 months’ salary at that time).  Once word got out that the course was happening, the reception area of the hotel became like a recruitment fair as several employers were keen to recruit the students, such was the value they placed on the NEBOSH course at that time. All but three of the students gained new employers and had doubled their salary by the end of the course.

Delivering NEBOSH training courses internationally in 1994 was so different than today; results were sent back to NEBOSH via fax and trainers had to take several hundred plastic acetates in their hand luggage with words, pictures and diagrams to use as presentation materials.

BSS have managed to track some of participants of that first international course, and as Mina Bian one of the original students said: “Back in 1994 I was an occupational nurse with Shell in Sarawak. I was always seeing the results of poor health and safety performance on workers at Shell and when the opportunity came along for me to attend the NEBOSH National General certificate, I thought it would complement my existing medical training. During the course I found out so many new things and, more importantly, it helped me understand how many accidents and incidents were caused. Little did I know or appreciate that, due to my success in the NGC I would be selected for special additional development by Shell and latterly, after 3 rounds of redundancies, I would be the last to leave the Shell Medical and Health Department when it was finally reorganised and outsourced. I am certain that the reason for my extra personal development and being retained until the closure of the department was greatly influenced by the NGC that I sat over 25 years ago”.

Leaving Borneo, the BSS team immediately flew to the Sultanate of Oman to deliver the second NEBOSH National General Certificate course outside of the UK.  BSS were keen to build on their reputation in the region as a leading provider of Health and Safety accredited training courses.

So how was the world of safety and training back in 1994?

Training back in 1994 was so different from today as Pat explains, “there was no internet or emails back then registration forms and results were all sent by fax and course materials had to be planned weeks in advance, with little ability to change content quickly.  We had no laptops or projectors and frequently carried excessive hand luggage, (we could not risk losing our training materials).  Several hundred acetates with words and diagrams together with hundreds of 35mm photographic slides demonstrating good or bad practice had to accompany us wherever we delivered our training. Occasionally clients would agree to produce corporate safety videos which cost thousands of pounds and weeks to produce.

It is so much easier these days, we can adapt content quickly and capture videos, interviews or photos easily.  We present training material using lightweight laptops (which can all be backed up and stored in the cloud should we ever lose our devices whilst abroad).

Other than technology, so much has changed in the areas of risk management since 1994 and this includes the phrase risk assessment itself, as it is now a daily used word in society, a far cry from the early days when only those in the health and safety world vaguely understood the concept.

Today, we realise and accept that at the heart of good health and safety practice is people and their behaviour. To ensure a positive safe working environment requires people to have a positive attitude to safety and not, as promoted by some countries still, a never-ending list of rules, laws and punishment for violators.

Additionally, we have seen significant improvements in the last 25 years to personal protective equipment in the range, quality and its use.  PPE, although not the perfect solution, has a relevant time and place”.

How do you see the future of safety and training?

“There are some new exciting developments which will help us assess improvements before and after training. We have recently been privileged to use the Safety Climate Tool, SCT, a wonderful survey tool from the UK Government Regulators, the Health and Safety Executive, HSE, which helps to reveal people’s attitudes and reasons for their behaviour, both good and not so good. We have used this survey with clients, one with over 4,800 workers on one site.  Individuals take part in the survey, prior to training and enables employers and trainers to get a “feel” for safety attitudes within the workforce, both individually and collectively. We can create a sensible list of suggested actions and priorities to be carried out post training.

This benchmarking process is repeatable and objective, it allows real measurement of change, without relying on the good old, and highly discredited, AFR, Accident Frequency Rate as the sole arbiter of safety performance!

With the ability to follow up the survey at a later date, we are able to help clients assess if attitudes within their organisation are changing.  We would never have been able to conduct, deliver and evaluate a survey such as this back in 1994 without today’s technology to help. I think these tools will only get better in the future and help us develop bespoke training and development programmes that can continue to make a difference.

One thing that may also change in the future is the way we provide water to our students. One thing that makes me smile is that back in 1994 if you had bottled water at a training course it was always a fancy glass bottle – not the cheap plastic bottles we have seen latterly.  However, now we are aware of the dangers of plastic to our environment we are seeing a return to glass bottles – so some things have gone full circle!”

From becoming the first provider of training courses for NEBOSH outside of the UK, BSS has grown its international reputation. Having delivered courses on six continents (as Pat said, “we count Siberia as the Arctic because it certainly felt like it” and in many Foreign & Commonwealth Office ‘red list’ destinations.  Examples of locations across the continents where BSS have delivered training include Algeria, Canada, Congo, China, Greece, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Timor Leste and the UAE.  In between collecting airmiles, BSS have delivered courses in the UK, either on location at clients’ premises or from their own facilities in Birmingham.

BSS have trained over five thousand students on various NEBOSH courses since 1994. Many students have gone on to train countless others resulting in saving many injuries and potentially even deaths as we spread the message that good health and safety management should be seen as a potential profit centre and not a cost centre, with the financial savings that can be made by reducing daily carnage in the workplace.

Pat recalls, “one of my proudest moments was assisting development of the materials and trainers for delivery of a NEBOSH accredited course in Mandarin. To see the impact that HSE training has had in China in the last 24 years has been fantastic.  Whilst there is still so much to do around the globe, as safety professionals we should recognise how far we have come.”

And what about the future?

“We are just back from Borneo after recently delivering a NEBOSH Process Safety Management Course where we are delighted to announce all students achieved a 100% pass rate.

This Winter will see us returning to Papua New Guinea, Oman and China as we deliver the range of NEBOSH courses internationally.  We are really excited about the new Process Safety Course as this has already been popular with our overseas clients”.

Any further thoughts?

We are pleased NEBOSH continue to develop their training products and now NEBOSH are holders of a Queen’s Export Award.  BSS often wonder would that have happened without the embryo of an idea to deliver the first ever National General Certificate in Borneo back in 1994?

British Safety Services (BSS) is a consultancy offering advice on health and safety issues nationally and internationally. Based in Birmingham, the company offers guidance on all aspects of public safety, specialising on workplace legislation. The company also runs a wide range of recognised training courses focusing on safety issues.

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Important Rule Changes for CITB Site Safety Plus Scheme

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The CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) has recently announced an important change in the rules for the Site Safety Plus Scheme. The new change to bring the scheme in line with other Cskills Awards products by doing away with the six-month grace period on certificates.

Currently, there is a grace period after a CITB certificate expires, which allows delegates to attend a refresher course within six months of the expiry date. Soon, this grace period will be removed, so delegates must now ensure that they attend a refresher course before their certificate expires.

CITB are removing the certificate grace period; currently the grace period is six months after a certificate expires This means that instead of the 6 month grace period after a certificate ends, delegates need to ensure they attend a refresher course before the end date of their certificate instead of having to sit a full course.

The current grace period process will continue until the 31 December, 2015. After this date, the grace period will not be valid without a formal appeal to the CITB. If any of your staff or contractors have Site Safety Plus certificates that will have expired by this date, book them on one of our SSSTS Refresher or SMSTS Refresher courses now.

If you would like to book a refresher course click on the above link or call our Head Office on 0121 333 7232. You can also email us at [email protected]

BSS Provides Workplace Safety Training in Canada

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British Safety Services is dedicated to providing valuable health and safety training to professionals in a wide range of industries around the world. Every year, we dispatch training teams to various locations around the world with the goal of improving safety in the workplace.

Recently, we visited Canada to provide training to managers at Carillion. As one of the nation’s leading construction providers, it is important that managers undergo safety training regularly and are always up-to-date with the latest safety protocols.

Carillion is especially dedicated to maintaining a safe and secure work environment for its employees, making it the ideal candidate for the training services offered by BSS. The company employs the Target Zero program, which aims to reduce the number of workplace accidents to nil. To achieve this, all employees and managers must stay up-to-date with workplace safety procedures.

The training team at BSS encountered some unique challenges while working with Carillion in Canada. Canadian health and safety protocols differ significantly from the risk assessment approach that is utilized across Europe. However, our team was able to navigate the obstacle successfully and provide valuable training to Carillion construction managers.

In the future, BSS hopes to provide training for more companies throughout Canada and around the world. 2014 will see our training provided on a more expansive international scale.

Full details about our health and safety training programs are available on our Courses page, or you can contact us for more information at: 0121 333 7232.

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