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Too many people think of training courses as a holiday camp

Published: 30th Nov 2017
Author: Dylan Sutherland ; Protekta Safety Africa

Is the working at heights trainer certified through the appropriate SETA? Source:

As we have discussed previously there are a number of requirements before any Work at Heights can be performed. This issue we will cover the aspect of Training – Possibly the most important aspect.
In our industry I have picked up there is a culture of ‘I’m going for training for 2 days – FANTASTIC, 2 days leave and hopefully a good meal’. I personally enjoy the feeling of candidates coming through the training facility that leave with a look of accomplishment mixed with a bit of concern, fear and respect for the job they are returning to. It might come off as slightly sadistic but there is a major concern when we talk about training locally. 

The concern is there are a large amount of  service providers that are doing the industry a disservice. When we talk about working at heights this surely needs to be a course which evaluates each candidates ability to climb up a substantial distance, comfortably stay in that position for quite some time, trust their equipment and understand exactly how to use it as well as understand that falling in a bad position even at 1m could kill you. Unfortunately there are those that have tried to capitalise on this ‘new phenomenon’ of training without the sufficient knowledge to do so – Deeming candidates competent after a quick 3 hour course where candidates had to correctly answer 10 questions, including ‘Are you afraid of heights’, and not once got into this piece of equipment let alone left the ground – But we’ll give them a certificate which makes them believe they know all they are required to…
THIS IS UNFAIR. It is extremely reckless from the service providers and unfortunately the person who is the worst affected generally has no say on the matter. 
We have a belief at our Training Facility that we would prefer the people leaving our facility rather leave with a respect and understanding of the dangers they face on a daily basis instead of a certificate.
The biggest problem is the person who requires/staff require training does not know what the actual requirements are when it comes to Working at Heights. As it is quite complex, I will try break it down as simply as possible later, if the client enquires with a company looking to turn numbers they will not be given the correct information. There is very little information available as an end user for Working at Heights if you have not been properly involved with the Work at Heights industry and I truly feel for people in that position.
When you perform training that is certified it has been developed by an Authority. In South Africa our training has been developed through SAQA – This includes School standards, short courses and full trades. This gets passed down from SAQA to an Authority depending on what Field the training falls under. Eg: MERSETA = Mechanical Courses.
Another issue in Work at Heights is the service providers that offer the Work at Heights courses are not necessarily certified through the correct SETA(Authority) and more than likely not even recognised by the Professional Body.
Where the issue comes in is the service providers get the unknowing client to believe the training needs to be redone annually (Make more money). This is crazy. Has anyone said to you ‘You passed matric 10 years ago, where’s your proof that you have done it again more recently? Highly doubtful. The only thing which can expire is a Professional Registration – You can only get a professional registration from a service provider recognised by the professional body.
To make it as simple as possible, if you are unsure about what course you should go on and who are reputable service providers, get in touch with the Institute for Work at Heights (IWH). They can advise on accredited training providers, courses which you would require, best practices and more. – [+27 (0)71 533 6492,]
©2017 S&V Publications
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