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Reducing cable strikes

Underground service or ‘cable’ strikes are one of the greatest challenge areas for the utility sector, resulting in a significant number of deaths and injuries per year and incurring millions of pounds in associated damages and compensation costs.

Underground service or ‘cable’ strikes are one of the greatest challenge areas for the utility sector

With over 60,000 strikes reported annually (plus others which may go unreported), the resulting injuries, contractor penalties and the impact on a company’s reputation can be substantial.

In a bid to reduce the number of cable strikes, Develop Training (one of the UK’s largest technical skills training providers), is partnering with Cognisco, a provider of intelligent employee assessments, to launch a new training and assessment programme, based on the latest behavioural training and assessment techniques.

The ‘Cable Avoidance Evaluation’, will help companies to improve the competence, knowledge and attitudes of operatives and supervisors, by enabling them to uncover the specific training requirements and support needed to improve the competence, performance and safety of individual workers.

Operatives and Supervisors will be evaluated by taking the online assessment which will ask them in-depth multiple response questions based on the true to life situations they face in their roles. Their knowledge, confidence and attitudes will tested in detail on topics including pre-dig assessments, utility mapping, PPE, assess pre-existing damage, how they check and use equipment, interpret cables and pipework and methods of excavating. The results will highlight their knowledge and how confident they are in all these areas and any specific skills gaps and training needs will be revealed.

For this first time, utility companies will gain in-depth information about the knowledge, confidence and attitudes of every worker and they can then tailor training and development programmes, which will reduce the cost of training and eradicate any unacceptable behaviour.

Russell Coleman, Director at Develop Training commented: “In spite of technical training, cable strike incidents unfortunately keep occurring and we want to change this. In partnership with Cognisco, we have developed an innovative new approach which will enable companies to drill down in-depth and uncover very specific training, knowledge gaps and individual attitudes towards risk and safety. This information will allow companies to finally address these serious issues and reduce risks and costs. We believe that the growing cost of this problem is only going to be tackled by such a revolutionary new approach and the need to change behavior and people’s attitude towards safety has never been greater.”

Mary Clarke, CEO of Cognisco added: “The injuries, deaths and cost of cable strikes are a growing problem for utilities companies. Companies need to ensure that every individual is competent, confident and fit to practice and training and assessment must go hand in hand. Our approach will give companies complete insight into the skills, knowledge and attitude of every individual. They will be able to make the right decisions about training and development, tackle unacceptable behaviour and have greater confidence in the ability and safety of their workforce. We are confident that the assessments will help raise individual and industry-wide safety standards and lead to a reduction in cable strikes.”

Develop Training is already working closely with a number of leading utility firms from each sector to pilot this new assessment. The company also works with Cognisco on a series of successful specialised street works training courses and assessments.


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