There are many things constantly changing in the industrial workplace and anyone using equipment and machinery at work must be adequately trained to ensure health and safety in its use, design and development, supervision or management. Kevan Cowley, Electronic & Safety Specialist with Wieland Electric, looks at the best way to keep abreast of changes and preserve the safety of the workforce. Kevin is qualified to deliver CESE courses and also provides workshops throughout the UK.

For most everyday activities involving work equipment, adequate training can be delivered in-house using the manufacturer’s instructions and the background knowledge/skills of more experienced workers and managers, including methods and standard procedures. When it comes to safety and legislation, it is of paramount importance to keep employees up to date on these changes to help them maintain and develop the skills and knowledge required for their roles and preserve the safety of the workforce. Training in safety and a full knowledge of safety devices is also vital to ensure that machinery is handled in the safest manner possible, which results in less accidents/incidents. Training also has the effect of enhancing the performance and productivity of staff, as well as the efficiency of the production process and overall professionalism of the business, not to mention the professional development or career advancement of the employees.

With industrial functional machinery safety, it is important to ensure that the training courses conform to the very latest industry standards and legislation.  The main legislations governing the harmonisation of essential health and safety requirements for machinery at EU level is the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. Maintaining compliance with the Machinery Directive to ensure that you are kept up to date with the latest industry requirement is essential but doesn’t need to cost the earth. Your chosen course should be specifically focused on your area of interest so that you can develop the specific skills required within your organisation.

Wieland Electric, like many manufacturers of machinery safety components, can provided a number of courses and workshops, run at central hubs or delivered at the workplace (this usually requires a minimum sign up), which saves time and money. Choosing your course from different sources is equally important as quality of teaching (pass rates can vary) and, as with everything in life, the cost is not always an indicator of a good course. There are many free courses that will provide excellent information and, depending upon your specific requirements, these will range from 1-5 days in length depending on the content.

Courses are available in workshop format or can consist or more formal programs that result in a recognised certificate on passing, for example CESE (Certified Electrical Safety Engineers) Courses which provide the individual with a TUV safety accreditation. These courses provide a detailed explanation of the current laws and standards and how to work with them, including EU guidelines like CE Marking and terminology/phrases. Functional safety concepts, sensor technology, logic and risk assessment in accordance with EN1200-1 are also included in the topics covered. This course explains the concepts behind the safety regulations and test standards, taking you step by step in design develop and test system from start to finish including how to compile a technical file, compliance evidence, and the documents and labeling that must be present with the product/system in accordance to the relevant standards/ legislation. Invaluable for OEM’s, Panel Builders, End Users or System Integrators, the course will help provide full understanding of what is required and if this requirement this requirement is being completely fulfilled.

Wieland also runs more informal and practical hands on workshops that provide insight and training into newer technologies within machinery safety. An introduction to programmable safety workshop, for example, may include some basic information regarding legislation, physical hands on device wiring of components and software programming. These are generally provided free of charge and are a great starting point for both graduates and experienced engineers alike, allowing them to gain a good understanding of the changes in technology and legislation within the industry without incurring high costs or long periods away from their everyday role, without the sometimes daunting task of an examination at the end.