By Leon MaidmentHealth and Safety Consultant


PASMA (Prefabricated, Access, Suppliers and Manufacturers Association) have been working closely with the HSE for over 30 years ensuring employees are competent to work at height on specialist access equipment.

PASMA have several different courses aimed at different types of equipment, there isn’t a one size fits all course.
The reason for the different courses is a mixture of the requirements of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and British/European Standards.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 Regulation 5 states; “Every employer shall ensure that no person engages in any activity, including organisation, planning and supervision, in relation to work at height or work equipment for use in such work unless he is competent to do so or, if being trained, is being supervised by a competent person.”

To ensure you are compliant, your employees should attend the following PASMA Course dependant on the equipment they use;

To ensure you are compliant, your employees should attend the following PASMA Course dependant on the equipment they use:
Work at Height Essentials – For employees using work at height equipment.
Low-level Access – For operatives using access equipment below 2.5 Metres (Podiums, Roomates and Low Level Towers).
Towers for Users – Employees constructing 3T & AGR Towers.

A note to site managers- Always check the back of the PASMA Card to see what the operative is competent to erect and use.


As the sun takes a break at the same time as many of us, I find myself feeling as reflective as the puddles outside.
The last few months have been tumultuous but rewarding for us here at HCS Safety.

We have launched a new bespoke internal work management system – mercifully we call it JARVIS for short, I can only fit so many syllables into a day.
Having such a diverse workforce means that change will be met and adopted differently but as we all learn how to work with the new system it is already having its desired effect in terms of looking after our customers in a better way.

There have also been changes in personnel; a new Operations Manager has joined our project as well as a new Consultant Support Specialist. The injection of energy has been well timed as we transition onto JARVIS. Planning our work more efficiently is already leading to more opportunities to develop our team.

Change is constant and as our company continues along its journey it is a good feeling to know that as a unit we can all deal with changeable conditions, and I’m not just talking about the weather.


Zoë Drew


By Drew Underwood, Senior Consultant

This was a question that I was recently asked by a friend of mine who works on site.

The answer… The question isn’t really that simple.

It is often assumed that there is an easy answer to questions like this one, that a number can always be quoted or a diagram can be checked. Whilst it is true that there is plenty of guidance and advice issued by the HSE, trade groups and companies that manufacture equipment. With work at height law, as is often the case, the emphasis is placed on the risk assessment findings of a competent person.

When it comes to work at height, the biggest cause of fatal accidents across the UK workforce, there is a relatively simple hierarchy.

  1. Can I avoid doing that work from height. Is there a different method, a new tool, a change of approach which would allow me to work safely from the ground?
  2. How can I prevent a person from falling? For this a physical barrier is needed. A guardrail, a solid working platform a restraint to allow someone to work from a high place without the risk of a fall happening.
  3. Can I minimise the distance or consequences? If the work does not allow for a barrier to be used, how can I make the fall shorter or the landing softer to lessen the chance of injury?

The question my friend should have been asking, was what is the safest reasonable way of doing the job? What lessens my chance of serious injury while still allowing me to get the work done in a sensible way.

There is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. Imagine how much your window cleaner would want to charge you if the law required that he built a scaffold to access every 1st floor window. But someone doing the same job on a block of flats? Suddenly the definition of what is reasonable starts to shift.

Whilst my answer may not have been as simple as he was hoping, it was at least more sensible.

If you need any further information on the requirements and the options for safely planning works at height our Work at Height Awareness course is a good place to start.



By Zoe Drew, Director, HCS Safety

Classroom of course – end of blog.

Only kidding…I’m going to have to flesh out this argument just a bit.

At HCS Safety, some of the subject matter we teach is quite challenging. There might be a bit of law, some chemistry, biology or some practical elements to digest; even a touch of psychology and sociology now and again. A lot of these concepts are the sort where you need to check you’ve understood something, hear real life examples from other people and bounce ideas off classmates and your tutor in order to make sure you’ve really understood something.

There’s something truly satisfying about being in a group of people and all “getting it” when you’ve learned something really new. It’s quite a buzz, and in the world of online isolation, it doesn’t happen all that often. These are fulfilling and empowering moments to value and cherish.

Undertaking a NEBOSH Diploma is a big deal – this is a degree level qualification and you’re going to get it in ONE YEAR, probably while you are working. Being in a separate place of learning is essential. Your mind knows it’s a college day, your family and colleagues also know and they are important to your exam success. You will also be in a group of people who are up against the same challenges as you – and you’ll have actually met them in the flesh. These people will be your support network and may be your friends too soon – nothing creates bonds like being up against a challenge together.

So, if you want to check that you’ve got your times tables correct, maybe online is ok, but when there’s a concept any more complex that that, I’d head for the classroom in a heartbeat.

To find out more about our NEBOSH Diploma Classroom course or any other services from HCS Safety visit our website or call us on 023 80 894695.

All of us at the South’s favourite health and safety consultancy are very proud to announce that we have been awarded accreditation against the Investors in People Standard, demonstrating our commitment to realising the potential of our people.

For those of you who don’t know us, we have been providing health and safety training and consultancy services across the South for nearly 20 years. We serve nearly 400 retained clients and look after over 4000 companies for their safety training. We employ 24 people and are based in Southampton.

Investors in People is the international standard for people management, defining what it takes to lead, support and manage people effectively to achieve sustainable results. Underpinning the Standard is the Investors in People framework, reflecting the latest workplace trends, essential skills and effective structures required to outperform in any industry. Working with clients across the globe, Investors in People enables organisations to benchmark against the best in the business on an international scale.

Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People, said: “We’d like to congratulate HCS Safety. Investors in People accreditation is the sign of a great employer, and an organisation committed to achieving success by realising the potential of their people. HCS Safety should be extremely proud of their achievement.”

Commenting on the award, HCS Safety’s Director, Zoe Drew said: “It takes a lot of work to gain the accreditation, but it has been one of the most valuable journeys we have taken as a company. Our team is stronger and more committed as a result of our IIP status, meaning that we can offer the best service to our clients. A big thank you to everyone!”

Please contact us for information about what HCS Safety can do for your business.

by Drew Underwood, Senior Consultant, HCS Safety Ltd

This year at our annual forum we were overjoyed to celebrate the achievements of 21 member clients, who had managed to achieve 100% scores on their annual health and safety review.

The annual review is our way of measuring the success of our client’s health and safety management systems and procedures. Review is a vital part of any effective health and safety management system, not to mention a legal requirement and a key component of our membership package. It allows us to keep track of the successes and challenges that clients have faced over the year, and helps us to identify the practical ways that we can help keep employees safe and company leaders on the right side of the law.

A 100% review score represents a company who has committed fully to embracing health and safety as a crucial component of their business, so it is with genuine pleasure that we have been able to give an increasing number of these awards annually. Our advisors get to know every client on both a personal and professional basis at these meetings, so being able to recognise that relationship really feels like a validation of the shared work that we put in.

So once again, a massive congratulations to our 21 Health & Safety Excellence award winners of 2019:

  • A.W. Jeffreys (Southampton) Ltd
  • Able Steel Fabrications Ltd
  • Basingstoke Fire Protection Ltd
  • Bluestone Design and Construction Ltd
  • Corrigenda Ltd
  • Createability
  • Dartmouth General Contractors Ltd
  • Fifth Elevation Ltd
  • Gypsum Plasterers Ltd
  • Hampshire Light Ltd
  • Hazeley Developments
  • Hexley Ltd
  • JW Hill Garden Care Ltd
  • KAMM Civil Engineering Ltd
  • Macintyre Scott & Co. Ltd
  • March End Carpentry
  • Richardson Decorating Contractors Ltd
  • SMR Plant Services Ltd
  • Spirit Solar Ltd
  • Titan Drylining Ltd
  • Vision Scaffolding Solutions Ltd

To find out more about our membership service, please click here.

by Zoe Drew, Director HCS Safety

Sometimes events occur and the effects are very hard to predict. The fatal air accident involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft this weekend is such event in more ways than one.

The aircraft was carrying people from 157 people from 32 different nationalities. Each one of them will have family, friends, work colleagues and a wider circle of lives and consequences what will be changed forever as a result of this tragic event.

At the time of writing, China and The Cayman Islands have grounded their Max 8 aircraft. All over the world, fleet managers, mechanical engineers and any decision maker who has recently taken delivery of one of these craft will now have their focus shifted to trying to make the right decision in this challenging situation.

Closer to home, we often talk about the ripple effect in relation to workplace accidents – how a single second event can affect a large number of people in many ways, sometimes forever. This is also true of course for ill health effects. Serious illnesses can have the same far reaching consequences that extend way beyond the sufferer.

In terms of the air crash, 22 of the passengers on board were en route to a UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi. At this time of cliff edges and exponential effects on the climate, only history will be able to tell us what essential changes may have been delayed, cancelled or altered by the effect on this vital conference.

What relationships will be forever altered, what focuses will change, what calls will not be made because priorities will have suddenly shifted?

To understand more about how incidents, accidents and ill health can impact lives and businesses, get in touch with us at HCS Safety to see how we can help prevent these events and minimize the consequences.

A visit to your company to see how we can assist you is free of charge and may just be the best way of finding out what you need to do to manage your workplace risks effectively.

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Do you remember your first crush?

Did you ever pluck up the courage to ask them out on a date?

The anticipation, the waiting, it may have taken hours, days, weeks or even months to pluck up the courage to approach them. The heart pumping, that nervous shuffling, the dry mouth and wringing hands all demonstrating that you were entering a stressful situation and exposing yourself to that fear of rejection.

Who do people in your organisation approach if they are struggling with their mental health? The feelings that they encounter may be exactly the same as the feelings described above, in short – Stress! If a colleague or employee comes to talk to you about their mental health, listen to them, offer support, please don’t shut them out! For further information on how HCS Safety can help you with your well-being strategy, follow our Linkedin page  or take a look at our Mental Health Awareness- Preventing and Managing Occupational Stress course.

by Zoe Drew, Director HCS Safety

As employers are starting to engage with the concept of mental health in the workplace being within their remit, it seems as if the solution with the loudest voice is getting the most attention, but is this the right way to go?

We are getting better now at regarding mental health in the same way as we do physical health, and so isn’t prevention better than cure? In terms of the physical workplace, we concentrate our efforts on prevention – using lightweight materials, non-slip surfaces, dust suppression, physical barriers and good housekeeping, all brought together and underpinned, of course by a suitable and sufficient risk assessment (see last week’s blog). We want first aiders, of course we do, but they are not, and never have been, the only option in risk management.

I think we are potentially going down an overly simplistic road – many employers are looking at Mental Health First Aid as the only option in risk management. This is a complex area to get involved in and the hope seems to be that if they do this one thing all the problems will go away. Life isn’t as easy as that. Risk management hierarchies tell us we need to prevent the problems from occurring as well as being well placed to fix them.

I am a huge advocate of Mental Health First Aid – we run the course here at HCS Safety, but I am also of the belief that employers should be preventing the problems that are within their control – in this area, the main focus is inevitably workplace stress. There are ways of preventing and managing it, making it less likely that an employer will directly cause a mental health problem or exacerbate an existing one.

We at HCS Safety wouldn’t be fulfilling our duty if we didn’t have a solution for you – we suggest that employers look at a prevent and protect strategy; and add our course on Preventing and Managing Occupational Stress to your Mental Health First Aid training to give you the full picture.

by Zoe Drew, Director HCS Safety

There is a dangerous myth out there that risk assessment is simply a form filling exercise. This could not be further than the truth. Almost every prosecution following a serious accident cites the lack of a “suitable and sufficient” risk assessment as part of the cause. These aren’t just words – the law requires your risk assessment to be “suitable and sufficient”. If not, the author of that assessment is potentially exposing workers to risk and themselves to legal action.

Risk assessment is a thought process, a method of enabling people to do potentially dangerous jobs safely, and it needs to be done well. A solid understanding of the task, the hazards (both immediate and long term) how to evaluate risk and how to control it is essential in fulfilling your legal duty to get this right.

The way the risk assessment is recorded is also a part of the process, but it comes after the serious problem solving has been done. This really is NOT about risk assessment forms or risk assessment templates – it’s about the identification of problems and solving them BEFORE you worry about how to write them down.

The art of creating a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is not rocket science, but it does require knowledge and skill. The author of a risk assessment is signing their name to a method of work for others to follow, and that carries considerable responsibility, both morally and legally.

If you have been asked to write a risk assessment, your employer has a duty to ensure that you are competent to carry out this task. Training is essential and is available right here…

A Risk Assessment course at the South’s favourite safety consultancy will fully equip you for this. An interactive and enjoyable day will leave you with the confidence, skills and knowledge to carry out this important task. Click here for details.

Alternatively, if you’d like to engage our consultancy to write your risk assessments for you, then please contact us.