17 Nov Training For Scaffold Shrink Wrapping – How To Make It A Success
Are you considering offering a scaffold shrink wrapping service to your customers? If so, you have probably considered getting some training in scaffold shrink wrapping techniques for you or your team. Here are a few tips to ensure you get the shrink wrapping skills you need to be successful.
HOW DO I FIND A TRAINER?
Most of the suppliers of scaffold shrink wrap materials and equipment will offer training services. However, try and find out a bit about the trainer before you go ahead. A shrink wrap trainer with lots of theoretical knowledge may not be able to give you as much useful information as someone who acquired their shrink wrapping knowledge through long periods ‘on the tools’. Some shrink wrap suppliers use supervisors or members of their own installation teams (if they also provide a shrink wrap installation service) and they can generally provide valuable additional ‘tips & tricks’ for your team that they have learnt through practical experience.
HOW MANY PEOPLE SHOULD I TRAIN?
Although there is no limit to the amount of operatives that can be trained, over the years we have found that one trainer to around four ‘trainees’ works best. More than four trainees and the amount of ‘hands on’ practice time that each trainee gets with the shrink wrapping heat gun is too small and the ‘banter to work’ ratio can get out of hand! If you have more people on your team that you would like to train, consider splitting the group into two seperate shrink wrap training sessions or asking your supplier for multiple trainers.
WHERE SHOULD THE SHRINK WRAP TRAINING TAKE PLACE?
Carrying out shrink wrap training on a small scaffolding structure in the confines of your own yard / premises is a good option. It is easy for the trainer to see what everyone is doing and provide help, and everyone can get plenty of practice in without fear of making a mistake. If you have an undercover area where the shrink wrap training can take place, then you don’t need to worry about being ‘rained off’. For a training structure in your yard then a three sided structure with roof works really well. Having one side open allows everyone to see what is going on. However, it could be argued that a simple training structure is not realistic enough and that a team might struggle when they face their first proper job.
An alternative option is to carry out scaffold shrink wrap training on a live project / construction site. This has the possibility of having your customer pay for the completed scaffold shrink wrap job and so cover the cost of the training. However, there is a risk that if the newly trained ‘wrappers’ are not confident they will hold back, afraid to make a mistake, and it may be the shrink wrap trainer ends up doing the job whilst your team do not get the shrink wrapping experience they need!
As a compromise why not consider a two day training session which combines the best of both worlds? The first day could consist of shrink wrapping a small ‘training structure’ in your yard and the second day consist of working on a live job with the trainer assisting and providing advice. Most shrink wrap suppliers should provide a discounted training rate for the second day.
WHAT MATERIALS & EQUIPMENT WILL I NEED?
You are going to need all the materials and equipment that you would use on a normal scaffolding shrink wrapping project. A typical ‘start up kit’ will consist a shrink wrapping heat gun(s), scaffold wrap film, patch tape, clips and leather welding gauntlets. Although a scaffold wrap supplier will be able to provide you with the materials and equipment, you will need to provide a 13Kg cylinder of propane gas for each heat gun as scaffold wrap suppliers generally do not supply this.
WHAT TOPICS MIGHT BE COVERED IN A SCAFFOLD WRAP TRAINING SESSION?
Scaffold shrink wrap training is generally a practical activity and does not require a classroom. Generally a shrink wrapping training course should at least include the following elements;
SHRINK WRAPPING THEORY:
Equipment (Heat gun) familiarisation – Pre start checks. Connecting and disconnecting the gun, hose and regulator. Safe use of propane gas and handling of cylinders. Materials familiarisation – shrink wrap, patch tape, clips •Personal safety – PPE, safe use of heat gun and fire prevention on site •Shrink wrapping scaffold structures – weather conditions, setting up the structure, wrapping sides, wrapping temporary roofs.
SHRINK WRAPPING PRACTICAL:
Welding & Shrinking Scaffolding Shrink Wrap •Repairing holes by patching / taping
For the practical part of the training the shrink wrap trainer should demonstrate each skill and then allow each person time to practice.
HOW MUCH DOES SCAFFOLD SHRINK WRAP TRAINING COST?
The cost of scaffold shrink wrap training sessions has been coming down in recent years and sometimes you may be able to persuade a supplier to train your team for free if they think you will be purchasing large quantities of shrink wrapping supplies in the future! However, try to bear in mind that free training may be quite basic without certification and that if a trainer has lots of relevant shrink wrapping experience built up over many years ‘on the tools’ then they are a valuable pool of knowledge that will be enabling your team to carry oout profitable new service for your customers.
CAN I GET A CERTIFICATE?
A scaffold shrink wrapping certificate of competency will provide evidence to your customers that your team are able to safely carrying out scaffold shrink wrapping to the required standard. Ignore any claims by shrink wrap suppliers who claim to be endorsed by the CITB or similiar as there are no official ‘tickets’ for scaffold shrink wrapping as a construction skill. Ask your supplier to provide details and examples of the assessment criteria and keep the completed assessment forms for each trainee documents along with the certificates. Do they provide a multiple choice exam to test shrink wrapping knowledge? If so, ask for the completed papers to provide a good audit trail and to show you have fulfilled your health and safety obligations to the best of your ability.
I’VE BEEN TRAINED – NOW WHAT?
After carrying out many scaffold wrap training sessions over the years for scaffolding companies and contractors our tips woud be 1) Only train a team who want to learn shrink wrapping! 2) Start small – try not to carry out a huge job immediately after training but allow the team to build up their confidence gradually. 3) Remember the weather – you can have the right shrink wrap materials and a well trained team but you need dry and light wind conditions to get the best results.