Covid-19 has infected millions of people across the globe. Though it has been determined the virus can spread from person to person, exactly how the virus is transmitted remains unclear.
While the coronavirus has had a severe impact on society resulting in business closures around the world, we have found that 90 percent of the mast climber work platform (MCWP) rental business in North America remains unchanged. MCWP usage is continuing to provide access for workers for essential infrastructure construction throughout the United States and Canada.
Hydro Mobile has had the challenge of keeping those jobs moving along. As a result, we have prepared the following advice. It is intended to minimize exposure to Covid-19 during the training of MCWP operators, taking into consideration the basic requirements of safety, social distancing and disinfection based on the recommendations by both Canadian and United States governmental recommendations, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
This should be used in addition to, and in conjunction with, standard operator training procedures, syllabus and testing requirements.
As is always the case, there may be additional job/environment-specific precautions which must be taken to manage exposure risk and trainers should conduct a complete risk/exposure assessment before the training begins.
Five Protective Actions and Behaviors
In addition to specific measures within each of the training elements, general protective measures should be adopted by both the trainer and the trainees.
“Do the Five” is a general set of protective actions and behaviors that should be adopted by all trainees, and adopted and enforced by the trainer:
HANDS – Wash them immediately before training commences
FACE – Don’t touch it, and wear a mask
ELBOW – Cough or sneeze into it
FEET – Stay 6-feet apart at all times. If closer distance is necessary, make sure mask is secured and minimize close working.
FEEL – Feel sick? Immediately notify the trainer, leave the training and notify employer for action. A trainer who feels sick should immediately cancel the training and follow general company procedures.
If any trainer or trainee has had to leave the training class due to illness, and subsequently is confirmed with Covid-19, he/she must follow their employer reporting procedure and should advise their employer to notify the trainer who was conducting the class.
Training Course Procedures
MCWP operator training generally falls into six sections:
1. Preparation, Overview and General Safety
2. Pre-Use Inspection
3. Safe Operation
4. Operators’ Manual Review
5. Written Test
6. Practical Assessment
There is also the trainer wrap-up, i.e. scoring the test papers, taking trainee photographs, etc.
Preparation, Overview and General Safety
- Additional Trainer PPE
- Additional Trainee PPE (Note: Trainees without, or who refuse to wear, additional PPE will not be allowed to attend.)
- Supplies (One of each per trainee and trainer.)
- Test Paper
- Practical Assessment
- Pre-Use Inspection Sheet
- Pen (No pencils.)
- Trainee Attestation Sheet – One per trainee
- Cleaning/Sterilizing kit for machine controls. (There is limited data on the effectiveness of many disinfectants for use with Covid-19. Current knowledge suggests that the disinfection compounds Sodium Hypochlorite, Ethyl Alcohol (in concentrations above 70%) and Hydrogen Peroxide are likely to be effective against viruses similar to Covid-19 (enveloped viruses.))
- Copy of operating section of manual - One per trainee
- Inspect classroom for ability to achieve “social distancing.” Note: If classroom is unsuitable, and if there is no suitable alternative, it will be preferable to conduct the classroom section (i.e. manual review and written test) on the machine, weather permitting, or, if not, inside the structure in an area where there’s no work.
- During the Pre-Use/Daily Inspection section, arrange trainees to stand 6 feet apart and 6 feet away from the unit.
- One trainee at a time, go through the details of the inspection while reviewing the entries on the Pre-Use/Daily Inspection Sheet.
- Each trainee will retain their copy of the inspection sheet. Note: If any trainee refuses to respect social distancing, they should be asked to leave the training session.
- Arrange the trainees to stand apart at the distances and in the position they were in during the Pre-Use Inspection.
- Ask one trainee at a time to get on to the platform and go through the controls and operation of the platform, while maintaining social distancing.
- Make notes on a Practical Assessment sheet for each candidate.
- When each candidate has successfully completed the practical section, they should leave the platform and reassume their position on the ground.
- Before the next trainee is granted access to the platform, the trainer should clean and sterilize the control levers and access gate/cage/handrails.
Operator’s Manual Review and Written Test
- Distribute the operator instructions extract from the manual, one per trainee, and review while respecting social distancing.
- Distribute written test and pen to each trainee and have them complete the test.
- DO NOT COLLECT THE TEST PAPER WHEN COMPLETE, EACH TRAINEE SHOULD KEEP THEIR TEST SHEET.
- Trainees should PRINT their name clearly on the top right corner of page one of the written test.
- Review the answers to each of the questions and ensure that trainees are marking their answers right or wrong.
- Ask each trainee their score and if there are no inaccuracies/queries ask the trainee to write their score on the first page next to their name.
- Ask each trainee to stand for a photograph in an area which respects social distancing, while the other trainees remain in their positions:
- Hats and face coverings should be removed for the photograph.
- The candidates written test paper, containing their name and score on the front, should be held up chest-height for inclusion in the photograph.
- Candidates will retain their test paper, daily inspection form and operators instructions.
- Trainer will retain the practical assessments and pictures.
- Trainer will, when convenient, create a folder on his/her PC containing the pictures. A second copy of the pictures should be stored in the folder. This second set should be ‘cropped’ to just show head and shoulders for each candidate.
- Using the written test scores, the practical assessments, and the photographs the trainer will then enter the course details and create a training card request as normal.
- If a classroom has been used for part of the training, the trainer will need to sanitize the tables, chairs, door handles etc. BEFORE and AFTER training.
Every business will have its own training program, but the above guide should be used as an addendum to standard MCWP training practice. These are Hydro Mobile’s recommendations for additional protections that trainers and trainees should take in the short term.
Stay healthy, and stay safe.