Protocol to Re-Commence Mandatory Training and Staff Supervision

Many of our client’s are now asking us about the safest and most effective way to re-commence their mandatory training and staff supervision programmes now that, hopefully the most acute phase of the Covid 19 virus pandemic, has passed but with a range of restrictions still in place.

To this end we have put together some advice below to devise a protocol/guidance notes for your consideration. This content will not necessarily work for all care and special needs education settings, but hopefully it will give you some ideas of how you might begin to address training and supervision issues to meet your organisation’s needs.

This format could be useful for a range of mandatory workplace health and safety subjects including moving and handling and managing challenging behaviour.

Introduction

Any protocol/policy or guidance notes that you are compiling – should have an introductory paragraph or two answering the following key questions

  • Who is the information contained within the protocol aimed at within your organisation?
  • What is the purpose of the protocol?
  • Who (by name and job title) has compiled and/or taken responsibility for the protocol content?
  • Who (by name and job title) will review the effectiveness of the protocol? How they will review it? and a date for review should also be detailed.

Using a fictitious a large care organisation ‘Blueberry Care Group’ who are unable to undertake all training in full due to Covid 19 restrictions and with moving and handling training in mind here is an example;

It is felt by the Directors of Blueberry Care Group that the most acute phase of the Covid 19 virus infection risk has passed sufficiently to enable us to re-start moving and handling training and staff supervision across the organisation to ensure we continue to meet our legal and moral obligations of health and safety to our staff and anybody else effected by hazardous workplace activities.

This protocol is aimed at all front-line care staff within Blueberry Care Group who undertake direct care activities with our residents. The purpose of this document is to advise all staff how Bluebell Care Group intends to re-commence our moving and handling training courses and staff supervision alongside the Covid 19 virus restrictions. It is our intention to have all front-line staff sufficiently re-trained and appropriately supervised by 30th September 2020.

The document has been complied by Susan Smith, Director of Health and Safety. The review date for this document is 30th September 2020 whereupon we will publish compliance to moving and handling training and recorded staff supervision sessions as part of the protocol review.

Main Content

The most effective way of prioritising levels of staff training and staff supervision seems to be to divide groups of front-line staff into three distinct categories and then making decisions as to what training and supervision they should access based on those categories.

Using the fictitious Blueberry Care Group again an example of this might be;

Staff Category A

These are staff within the Blueberry Care Group who have been in post over four years working at a front-line level for all this time. They are skilled and experienced; they will have successfully completed at least four moving and handling courses and will have had more than six supervised sessions documented by management within the organisation. They have a full range of practical moving and handling skills, they are able to utilise a wide range of moving and handling equipment, they will have contributed to risk assessments and will have the confidence to support more junior staff with moving and handling tasks. They will be very familiar with risk assessment processes, the organisation’s risk assessment documentation and the organisation’s relevant policies and procedures.

Staff Category B

These are staff within the Blueberry Care Group who have been in post between one and four years working at a front-line level for all this time. They will have successfully completed at least one full-day (6 hours) moving and handling course but maybe more. They would have had at least three supervised sessions documented by management within the organisation. They will be familiar with risk assessment processes, the organisation’s risk assessment documentation and the organisation’s relevant policies and procedures.

Staff Category C

These are staff within the Blueberry Care Group who have been in post for less than one year. They are at present unskilled and have little or no experienced; they may have not yet attended any training sessions with the organisation and had either no or only a moderate level of supervision. They will be unfamiliar with risk assessment processes, risk assessment documentation and the organisation’s relevant policies and procedures.

Your line manager will advise you which of the above three categories you fit into.

Categorising your staff in this way will help you detail, within your protocol how different levels of staff may be trained to enable you to prioritise your training and staff supervision time in the coming months whilst Covid 19 restrictions remain in place.

An example of how the above categories might be managed include;

Staff Category A

Given the level of skill and experience amongst this group of staff we will organise a ‘Question and Answer On-Line Meeting’ whereupon the organisations Moving and Handling Trainers will give these staff the opportunity to ask advice, ask any questions and also an opportunity to discuss some realistic case studies with a problem solving approach.

Staff will receive an interim certificate valid for three months whereupon it is expected that these staff would undertake the organisations usual refresher/update moving and handling training session valid for one year. The certificate will be clear that this training session was conducted on-line, no demonstration or assessment of practical skills was able to be undertaken, no theory was covered.

Staff Category B

Given the level of skill and experience amongst this group of staff we will organise an on-line ‘Question and Answer Practical Skills Session.’ Prior to this taking place staff in this category will be asked to watch the EDGE Services practical skills video (80 minutes) in full so that the organisations Moving and Handling Trainers will know that a refresher of the key practical skills has been undertaken. The training session will involve the organisation’s Moving and Handling Trainers demonstrating a range of key handling techniques including utilising a range of equipment. There will be opportunities for these staff to ask advice, ask any questions and also an opportunity to discuss and hopefully find some solutions to real-life case studies.

It may be appropriate for this group of staff to work alongside the Category A staff to assist with their on-going learning and development.

Staff will receive an interim certificate valid for three months whereupon it is expected that these staff would undertake the organisations usual refresher/update moving and handling training session valid for one year. The certificate will be clear that this training session was conducted on-line, limited demonstration of practical skills was able to be undertaken, but no practical assessment was possible and no theory content was covered.

Staff Category C

Given the limited level of skill and experience amongst this group of staff the organisation’s Moving and Handling Trainers will make this group their priority to re-train and to organise regular staff supervisory sessions as per the organisation usual program of staff learning and development. In order to be able to do this safely all those attending will wear full PPE (face mask/shields, gloves, aprons) and will undertake hand hygiene and surface hygiene as currently advised by the Blueberry Care Group to reduce the Covid 19 virus cross infection.

It would be appropriate for this group of staff to work alongside the Category A staff to assist with their on-going learning and development.

Staff would be certificated in the usual way.

Conclusion

It is really important to review the protocol on a regular basis to ensure all staff are adhering to the instructions given within it. Site management must continue with staff supervision sessions as they would usually and if they had concerns about the skills of staff undertaking moving and handling activities in the workplace, they should review the category that they are in and inform the organisation’s Moving and Handling Trainers of this.

Please note as stated at the beginning this protocol format is unlikely to work for all organisations but if your moving and handling training sessions had been temporarily suspended during the acute phase of the Covid 19 virus pandemic then a system for effectively and safely re-introducing them will need to be sought to enable the organisation to continue to meet their legal obligations.

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