22 June, 2024

New initiative

08 July, 2014

BFPA CEO, Chris Buxton, describes a new initiative to address current training deficiencies in the Fluid Power sector. For some time, the British Fluid Power Association, its Directors and its members have recognised the absence of any formal regulation relating to the qualifications of those engineers, technicians and operators embarking upon work in either the Hydraulic or Pneumatic technology sectors. i.e. an equivalent to the Gas Safe Register (formerly known as CORGI) for operatives working with gas appliances.

This is clearly an undesirable situation both from a professional perspective for the industry and even more importantly, in terms of Health & Safety considerations. As the representative voice of the industry the BFPA has decided to take action and address this long term problem. It is expected that the solution would take the form of an educational framework comprising a series of modules, all relating to a recognised level of competency with clear evidence routes and performance criteria. Some of the training modules already exist such as the CETOP Level I programme in Hydraulics, the BFPA Foundation Course and Hose skills programme plus more recently, the BFPA Hose Integrity, Inspection & Management course; but these are only a starting point for the initiative. It is anticipated that the ultimate outcome would take the form of a widely accepted set of industry standards enabling increased safety and competency at all levels. Ultimately they would seek to achieve the same status as the existing Gas Safety Scheme. Initially endorsed by the BFPA as best practice it is hoped that the framework could ultimately become at least a CETOP recommendation.

There may also be the possibility of engaging with other bodies such as City & Guilds. Such a significant undertaking will not be achieved overnight and in recognition of the magnitude of the task, the BFPA Education & Training Committee has been restructured to become a ‘Single Issue Task-Force’ comprising of individuals from across the industry including members, end-users, academia, the HSE and other stakeholders. The purpose of this Task Force would be essentially six-fold:

1. Present the general aim/aspirations of the Task Force to the industry and its membership

2. Go into a period of Consultation & Debate with those members who wished to take part

3. Assess the information gathered from the consultation / debate

4. Determine a broad-range of Minimum Industry Standard Qualifications, how they should be modularised and what elements are missing

5. Create a timeline and mechanism for creating and delivering the training

6. Create discussion to gain CETOP and possibly BSI approval to enable reinforcement in UK market May the 23rd saw the first meeting of the BFPA task-force and the team have already begun to define the likely content of the various training modules. As part of the process, the task-force is also engaging with the Renewable industry via Renewables Training Network (RTN) – a division of RenewableUK – who are currently developing UK training standards for the industry both in hydraulics and other related areas. They are also seeking to engage with the end-user community in order to ensure that the initiative is customer driven across a wide range of market sectors. They hope to be in a position to launch the new framework by the end of 2014.

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