The UK's National Federation of Demolition Contractors has joined forces with the National Demolition Training Group to offer the world's first high reach excavator training course.

Chief executive Howard Button said that the new course, developed in conjunction with the NDTG, fills an obvious gap in industry training provision. He commented: "Twenty years ago, these machines were virtually unheard of, and even 10 years ago they had something of a novelty value. But they are almost ubiquitous on UK demolition sites today and training had failed to keep pace with their growing popularity. We have been mindful for some time that, in the wrong hands, these highly specialised machines could be extremely dangerous. We sought to address that at a corporate level with the guidance notes, and we are now addressing this from the ground up with the operator's training course."

The course is open to operators who currently hold an A65B CPCS card covering excavators with a working height up to 15 m (50 ft). The three day course is intended to introduce them to additional health, safety and legislation required when operating high reaches up to 30 m (99 ft). It also identifies the methodology and additional structural awareness required when such machines are used to dismantle a range of structures. Specific machine controls and maintenance requirements are also built in using an wide range of manufacturers' specific operator manuals. Candidates will also get the opportunity for hands-on experience of such machines in a controlled environment.

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