Getting the Heights right

10 Mar 2020

Heights course revamp

The revised Heights courses are trialled at the Onehunga premises of Site Safe.


The latest, updated versions of Site Safe’s two main Height safety courses have been trialled and have been well received by the learners and the trainers.

The revamped two courses - currently known as the one-day Height and Harness Safety and the two-day Fall Arrest Systems courses, were put through their paces in early March in Auckland. A second round of trials is due in Christchurch at the end of March and the beginning of April.

Learning Developer Sherin Sunny says the content of the two courses hasn’t changed and they are still specifically about how to use safety harnesses at height.

What has changed is the way the trainees are assessed with a move from a mostly written assessment to more practical tests by the trainers.

“Our assessments are critical because these courses are unit standard courses with specific content but they are also very practical, skill-oriented courses and trainees have to show their level of skills and their knowledge.

“Previously the assessment was 80 per cent written and 20 per cent practical. With the new courses that’s changed to be about 60 per cent practical.

“With the new version the trainees have the chance to verbally and practically prove they understand the concepts and can do what they need to do to meet the assessment requirements.”

This means there is less paperwork for the assessors which allows them time to practically assess learners.

“The trainers can now ask more questions and give the learners more opportunities to show that they understand what they’ve been taught.”

She says the health and safety managers at the trials said the courses are now more hands-on and practical which suits them fine because that’s the reality of people in the industry.

“When you’re working at heights your paperwork’s not going to keep you safe, it’s about how you set up your systems that’s going to save your life.”

Sherin says focusing more on the practical side of things will see some tweaks to the existing heights training facilities.

“The team’s been working in Christchurch to put up a new scaffold on the outside of the building there.

“We’re trying to get things as real as possible because that’s what learners need - no amount of simulations on the ground is going to help them, they need to be practising things at height.”

Chris Jobson

Auckland Site Safe manager Chris Jobson takes part in the trial of the revamped Heights courses.