Giving a big tick to the Plus courses

18 Feb 2020

Meia Lopez

Site Safe Learning Developer Meia Lopez with Safety Advisor Dave Smallwood who have co-ordinated the revamp of the Passport Plus courses.


Site Safe’s three Passport Plus courses have had a major refresh and now include even more useful content and up-to-date technical information.

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

She says moving on to a Passport Plus course means people get to renew their Site Safety Card while extending their technical health and safety knowledge.

“The Passport Plus courses allow people to really focus on more specialist areas that are relevant to them,” she says.

So if people work at heights, they can do Passport Plus - Height. Or if they work with tools or around mobile plant, they can do the Tools and Plant course which looks at power tools and machinery such as excavators and diggers.

She says the Passport Plus - Worker Health course is a more general one that will benefit a broad cross section of construction sector 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 and a member of the review team, says that the courses also include more group discussions which gets information flowing.

“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,” he says.

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 specialised technical content.

The Height course also now includes a video about  Sione Lolohea from Auckland company APS.

Meia says Mr Lolohea is a classic example of safety being done right and he’s a past winner of Site Safe’s Safety Contribution Award.

She says 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, changed his ways and fully adopted his company’s approach to safety. One fateful day he fell through the high roof of a commercial building. His safety harness saved his life and he walked away with no injuries.

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

Dave says that the Tools and Plant course now includes more modern equipment, along with controls for their safe use.

Graeme Holmes

Graeme Holmes working on the 3d animation used to show how to work safely around machinery as part of the updated Passport Plus Tools and Plant course.


The course also now has a section about blind spots when it comes to working around machinery. It makes use of 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 might actually be on a building site. An extract of the video is here.

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

The updated Worker Health course has more information on silica and asbestos, mainly due to problems with dust from artificial stone benches damaging lungs. There is also more information about wellbeing initiatives to help workers cope with the pressures on and off work.

Dave Smallwood says the increased technical content in the courses reflects the fact that safety has matured 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, Dave says.

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

The Passport Plus courses are:

Tools and Plant


Worker Health


Jenni Maxwell

The courses were tested in a number of industry trial courses such as this one run by Safety Advisor Jenni Maxwell.