SINGAPORE: Home-grown distributor of mobile elevating work platforms, Galmon, has officially launched the Republic's first training centre dedicated to work-at-heights safety on Friday (May 22). The centre has been in operation since July 2014.
Galmon Academy offers nine accredited courses, and aims to improve such safety awareness for both workers on the ground as well as site supervisors.
One such course is how to operate boom lifts, which are used at construction sites to reach the sides of buildings, or to clean windows. Galmon has the world's tallest boom lift, which reaches up to 19 storeys. Students will learn to identify common hazards when setting up, parking and operating the equipment, among other things.
There is also a course on how to operate scissor lifts, which come in handy for painting, changing lightbulbs, or putting up festive decorations. Students can also learn how to operate personnel platforms, used indoors by one worker only, for cleaning or changing lightbulbs in areas where space is limited.
The two-storey training centre is a 6,700 square metre facility, with outdoor and indoor practical training grounds, 11 air-conditioned classrooms for theory lessons and an auditorium which can hold 300 people.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and Education Hawazi Daipi, who visited the facility, commended Galmon for taking the initiative to enhance the safe use of Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWP). He said both employers and employees must do their part to bring about safer and healthier workplaces.
SHORTCUTS IN TRAINING COMPROMISE SAFETY: GALMON
Falls from a height remain a major cause of workplace fatalities in Singapore, as seen in a 2014 report by the Workplace Safety and Health Institute, which states that falls from heights accounted for 17 per cent of all total workplace fatal injuries, and 13 per cent of major accidents in workplaces.
"We tend to see shortcuts being taken by operators when they do training, because they think that by skipping some steps, they can do it faster," said Galmon Academy's principal Shawn Ong. "However, they don't understand the fact that it will actually compromise safety."
The Academy is also looking at technology, like simulation, to prepare trainees even before they operate the machines.
Said Galmon CEO Desmond Ong: "The next time they go up the actual machine, they are pre-empted. And when they move the machine, they can sense where the blind spots are. Because when you go up in the air, and when you move the machine, there are a lot of blind spots to look out for."
The Academy also plans to introduce e-learning within the year for trainees who have tighter schedules. This will complement the academy's existing classroom and practical learning.