WJA signs letter of intent on shared safety standards
The Water Jetting Association has agreed with counterpart industry bodies in France and Spain to work together towards agreeing on mutual equivalence of their safety systems.
In a jointly-signed letter of intent, the WJA, S3C in France, and ALTAP in Spain, have pledged to cooperate in an attempt to agree and recognise that personnel and equipment “meet an equivalent level of safety”.
The move is designed to pave the way towards an agreement that contractor members of all three bodies share the same standards and can work in any of the three countries, largely without additional certification.
WJA, S3C and ALTAP hope water jetting and vacuum pumping associations in other European countries will also sign the letter of intent in due course.
John Jones, the WJA’s President, said: “This is an important and exciting moment because it formalises discussions we’ve been having for some time about how we can work together to agree on mutual equivalence of standards and procedures.
“The outcome will be significant benefits for our members and users of their services in terms of creating commercial opportunities and eliminating unnecessary costs and wasteful procedures.
“Central to the whole process is recognising that we all want to set the highest possible safety standards. It’s a platform that will allow us to improve safety and cooperation on other issues of mutual interest.”
The WJA’s auditing lead and Council member Jeff Haigh and Stuart Harwood, from S3C and Francisco Torrens, from ALTAP, signed the letter of intent at the Pollutec Show in Lyon, France.
Jeff Haigh said: “We’re very clear that we all want to work together to make our industry safer. We all have things to learn from each other. Sharing ideas and agreeing on ways to raise our standards in step is good.”
The aim, states the letter of intent, is to achieve a degree of equivalence between safety systems and manuals that are considered sufficient to allow their mutual recognition.
Where there are unavoidable differences, for example, because laws and regulations may differ between countries, these will be recorded, acknowledged and reviewed annually.
Contractors moving from one country to another must ensure their personnel are trained to recognise the differences. Also, for the duration of the work being carried out, equipment must be set up to comply with local regulations.
John Jones said: “The WJA has been reviewing and amending its procedures to align ourselves with this opportunity for some time. An example is not allowing contractors to coach and examine their operatives.”
The WJA is also changing its terminology to align it with French and Spanish counterparts. For example, training will be referred to as coaching and learning assessment becomes examination.
John Jones explained: “It’s terminology already becoming prevalent in the UK. The WJA’s approved instructors become WJA-approved coach/examiners.
“These changes will take some time to bed in, but we’re confident they will benefit our members, their operatives, and their clients.
“It’s a new approach to skills development that acknowledges the expertise many water jetting operatives already possess and their responsibility to demonstrate they meet the WJA’s standards.”