In the UK training is a bit of a minefield, there are different training cards, awarding body schemes and NPORS card membership available for workplace employees. There are however no Government issued licences for vehicles at work, for example the licence you receive to drive a vehicle. However, the law does requires that each operator is given adequate training by their employer so that they become competent to operate the machinery they use (as per legislation – Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 – PUWER section 9).
What are the different card options?
The different options depend on who is issuing the cards.
Evidence of training can be provided by the Training Provider themselves. Our Kentra Training card details the course undertaken and test date.
In addition to this, the training can be registered with an Awarding Body. These organisations operate a card membership scheme, where the operator pays for the relevant training to be recognised and registered by an NPORS training provider.
Kentra Training cards
A course accredited by us Kentra Training, as a registered training provider is suitable for the HSE and insurances as evidence of the competency of an operator in the categories listed on the training card. We issue candidates successfully completing a training course with an operator card.
All our cards detail the date of training and testing and we work within the HSE guidelines for refresher training recommended every 3 – 5 years, there are important exceptions to this, including after a period of absence. This would apply now, at a time where operations are beginning to pick up after lockdown and where operators may not have worked for some months. Though it would be very unlikely that an operator will have forgotten absolutely everything they knew before lockdown, carrying out refresher training for operators will enable you to go over any areas of concern, revisit best practice, and feel confident in the safety, efficiency and compliance of your operation going forward.
Another exception to the ‘three to five year’ rule would be for occasional users. This may be relevant at the moment where those who have completed training, but do not routinely use equipment, need to do so to fill gaps in resource. These employees should receive refresher training before they operate the equipment.
One final exception which the HSE highlight as extremely important is refresher training is recommended immediately if there is an accident or incident.
Each subsequent training course completed with Kentra will result in an additional card being issued specific to that training. (You could build up quite a collection).
Who are NPORS?
NPORS is one of the four founder members of the Accrediting Bodies Association for Workplace Transport which was officially approved by the HSE Board in January 2013.
NPORS registered training providers between them can deliver nearly 200 different courses from Lift Trucks to Plant and lifting equipment to Health and Safety courses. These courses are then registered with the Awarding body under their membership scheme.
NPORS operator cards
Once registered the operator will receive an NPORS card membership, this works within the same HSE guidelines for refresher training as the Kentra training card. The first training course successfully completed triggers the operators card expiry date and all subsequent training is added to the same membership but the expiry date will not change. This gives the opportunity to be able to renew the operators membership of NPORS, to receive the full term of your training. Doing so does not change any dates of training or the recommendations for when refresher training should be provided.
NPORS strongly recommends that employers should consider the need for refresher training as a first option in order to maintain as high a standard of operation in the workplace as possible. Other benefits of refresher training are outlined below:
Regular refresher training will ensure operators:
▪ maintain good driving habits;
▪ learn new skills where appropriate;
▪ re-assess their abilities.
Refresher training or retesting might also be appropriate where operators:
▪ have not used machinery for some time;
▪ are occasional users;
▪ appear to have developed unsafe working practices;
▪ have had an accident or near miss;
▪ have changed their working practices or environment.
Monitoring and assessment
Operators, even those who are trained and experienced, need to be routinely monitored in the workplace and retested or refresher trained to make sure they continue to operate machinery safely. You can identify the need for further training using a formal monitoring and assessment process, carried out by a suitably competent person, such as a qualified NPORS instructor.
Expiry by card or by category?
The NPORS card membership can be displayed in two ways, expiry by card which is activated by the first training course and valid for 3 or 5 years depending on your specifications, alternatively, expiry by category so every category on your card has its own 3 or 5 year expiry date. Both options have there own pros and cons depending on your requirements, the amount of training undertaken and how regular your program.