Competent Training = Competent Staff?

The Scenario

Buying a new industrial boiler is so similar to buying a new vehicle – do you need a bike (Hot Water Boiler), a car (shell fire tube steam boiler) or a truck (a water tube steam boiler). Once you pick the size to your requirements you will then want to insure it (service contract).

The Questions

BUT would you let a colleague drive your new vehicle if they haven’t passed their driving test yet? Would you trust that colleague to do the right thing at the right time to ensure your investment, themselves and the general public were being looked after? I expect not – therefore, why not look into the correct training for boiler operators before an accident happens. Often training can take a back seat because it is not tangible and the gains may never be quantified. But without it will your equipment have the same life expectancy? Without it would your colleagues be able to stop a catastrophic event?

bad driving test

The Answer

Training can mean so many things to different people – an expense to the financial controller, a need to the manager and often a day out of the factory to the operator.

The HSE repeatedly talk of competent people looking after the equipment, however, the question I am often asked is what are the legal requirements for training? In my mind there are 2 paragraphs that answer that question:

1 – The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires you to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of your employees.

2 – This is expanded by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which identify situations where health and safety training is particularly important, e.g.
• when people start work
• on exposure to new or increased risks
• where existing skills may have become rusty or need updating

HSE doc

Still not certain? I would highly recommend a 5 minute read of the HSE INDG345 to see what should be done for ALL employees – it also answers the following question:

Is the best route the veteran teaching his apprentice a ‘business as usual’ approach or is it the effective, up-to-date and most importantly safe methods of training?

Independent training by experienced, certified engineers can be used to ensure all operators within your business are doing best practise procedures on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It can rectify the old, bad habits and it can show the ‘why’ something is done rather than the ‘that’s the way I have always done it’ approach.

It need not be a costly outlay either. Fundamental courses can be done onsite as well as at the training provider’s premises. Dependent on the need, location and amount of operators, this investment can work out to be less than £100 per person for a full days training course.

Moving on from the fundamental course there is the BOAS accreditation. This is very much the advanced driving test and as such is only available for people who have over 6-month boiler operative experience. Again there is no data to quantify the long term saving from having operators BOAS accredited, however, as the course has been developed in conjunction with the Combustion Engineering Association (CEA) and insurance companies, who is to say there is not a short term gain?

There are many other courses surrounding the boiler and boiler house but without the fundamentals, are you running the risk of damaging your investment, your production and potentially your employees?

Ensure you have the best person in the driving seat when moving your business forward…


For more information on boiler operator courses please contact Dave Chapman at Byworth Boilers or get in touch today on +44 (0)1535 665225.

Principle Benefits of Boiler Training