Passport Plus: the new and improved health and safety course


Site Safe’s three Passport Plus safety courses have each had a major refresh with the addition of valuable new content and the latest technical information to keep them relevant and fresh for the construction sector

Meia Lopez, a Learning Developer from the development team at Site Safe, says Passport Plus courses are an ideal step up from the Passport level courses that provide the broad foundation-level of health and safety knowledge required by workers new to construction.

She says the Passport Plus courses allow people to extend their health and safety technical knowledge and renew their Site Safety Card.

People who work at heights can do Passport Plus – Height course, while builders can do the Tools and Plant course which looks at the safe use of power tools and working with mobile plant such as excavators and diggers.

Lopez says the Workers Health course offers more general training that will benefit a broad range of construction industry people.

“It covers physical health as well as well as the mental health side of things.”

Dave Smallwood, a Site Safe safety advisor from Christchurch who took part in the updating of the courses, say they now include more modern tools and equipment, along with controls for their safe use.”

The courses also include more group discussions which he says gets information flowing as trainees share their real-world experiences.

“The group dynamics are good because we can ask trainees, ‘how are you controlling this risk’ and they’ll talk about it and what they do, and that brings in a different flavour and gets everyone involved.”

Each Passport Plus course is four hours long and is made up of two hours of behavioural safety, common to all three courses, with two hours of the specialised technical content.

The Height course also now includes a video about Sione Lolohea from Auckland company APS, who is a past winner of Site Safe’s Safety Contribution Award.

Lopez says Mr Lolohea is a classic example of safety being done right. He had been demoted at his job after being seen on a roof without a safety harness, but he took on board the safety message and ended up being re-promoted. One day he fell through the roof of a commercial building but being secured in his safety harness he walked away from what could have been a fatal fall.

“We were really excited to use his story because he’s a great champion of health and safety,” she says.

The Tools and Plant course has also been beefed up with a section about blind spots when it comes to machinery. It includes some 3D animation done by Site Safe’s Graeme Holmes to show the difference between what the operator of a digger can see, and where people on a building site might actually be.

“We’ve also included a section on hand signals because workers might get asked to spot for mobile plant or equipment,” Meia says.

The Worker Health course now includes more information on silica and asbestos, mainly due to problems with dust from artificial stone benches damaging lungs.

Smallwood says the increased technical content in the course reflects that safety has matured a bit over the years as it has spread through construction as a discipline.

“So we use solid, practical examples of what safety actually looks like.”

The new courses have been trialled with trainees and Site Safe’s safety advisors have been trained on the new content.

Both groups have given the revised courses a big thumbs up, he says.

“Just about every single person says they are a significant improvement on the previous versions, so that was great to see.”

Information on the Passport Plus courses is here.