How are you managing?

The Facilities Management industry is in a unique position, encompassing the diverse range of services required to look after both the fabric of a building itself and the needs of those occupying it.

Maintaining a safe and efficient workplace in these circumstances can be a challenge in itself, particularly as managers are often tasked with overseeing a combination of in-house and contracted workers for various jobs. Throw in the wide range of equipment types utilised by this workforce – from building maintenance and refurbishments right through to cleaning and communications – and it’s easy to see why some Facilities Managers may struggle to stay on top of their responsibilities.

One key area that can be difficult for managers and supervisors to police is the safe and effective use of onsite equipment. Many managers and supervisors may not, themselves, be qualified operatives which raises the question “how do managers and supervisors know if their operatives are using equipment in the way it is designed to be used and the way that they have been taught?” The answer, more often than not, is that they don’t.

Add to this greater emphasis from the HSE on the competency of managers and supervisors and their role in reducing accidents and harm to employees and, facing this added pressure to get things right, it’s no wonder managers and supervisors of onsite equipment can feel overwhelmed.

There are, however, solutions. More and more courses are being developed that cater specifically to the needs of modern-day managers and their businesses. Not only are there courses available to help managers gain better control over on-site operations but they also demonstrate the benefits of a safe, efficient workforce. Meeting legal requirements is a necessity but there are also financial gains to be made, and they are vast: saving money on compensation, legal fees, damage costs and expensive disruptions, not to mention the boost an accident free workplace can give to staff morale, productivity and company reputation.

Confident and capable managers

So when looking for accredited training for your managers, where is the best place to start? First things first, to be able to keep their teams safe, Facilities Managers need to understand what their responsibilities for health and safety are and how to meet them. Courses such as IOSH Managing safely have been developed to help them do just this. Delegates will develop their ability to assess and control risk, identify hazards, investigate accidents and measure performance, among other vital managerial skills.

For those who oversee operators using materials handling and access equipment to carry out tasks, there are also more specific training options available to Facilities Managers. And, let’s be clear, these aren’t operator courses, managers are not required to operate the equipment themselves but they do need to understand what good and bad practice looks like and be able to spot and limit hazards as they occur.

For example, there are accredited courses available designed specifically for those who are responsible for overseeing the use of forklift trucks. Mentor offer an AITT accredited Managing Forklift Operations course and the IOSH-approved IOSH Managing safely forklift operations, which integrates the Managing Forklift Operations course into the standard IOSH Managing safely training, providing an enhanced qualification within the four day duration. Both explain the basic fundamentals of forklift safety such as pre-use checks, stability, stacking and destacking, and enable managers to ensure forklifts are being operated safely and efficiently in the working environment they oversee.

Managing work at height

When it comes to working at height, industry leading organisations IPAF and PASMA have developed specialist courses for those managing the use of access equipment on site. IPAF’s MEWPs for Managers course provides delegates with the skills and knowledge to confidently oversee the use of mobile elevated work platforms, from regulations and planning to supervision and accident prevention. If your teams use mobile access towers, your managers will benefit from PASMA’s Towers for Managers course. Following this course delegates will be able to ensure that the use of towers is planned, safe and meets all relevant legislation and best practice guidance.

Whatever their responsibilities, once they are equipped to assess risks and recognise hazards, the more confident and capable your managers will be to step in, communicate effectively and ensure best practice is upheld, for the good of everyone working in the vicinity. After all, it’s not just about complying with legal guidelines, it’s about being willing and able to actively promote good practice during every shift and making sure everyone gets home safe.

For further information on training that will maximise your managers’ potential, call 01246 555222 or visit www.mentortraining.co.uk.

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