The adoption of safe working practices has the highest priority for many organisations working within the petrochemical and other industries. The same also applies to Vopak. The situations that occur at a terminal are often complex, so there is not always an existing solution to make employees aware of the possible dangers. This gave rise to the need for Vopak to provide Field Supervisors with even better training and with the necessary substantive knowledge and communication skills to properly direct contractors. Vopak has developed a customised training course in collaboration with DELTA Safety Training, which meets this need exactly and helps to increase safety at the terminals. In this article, we interview Irma van IJperen, Division Training Coordinator at Vopak, and she tells us all about how the customised Field Supervisor Training came to fruition.
Need for customisation
The Vopak Field Supervisors are in charge of the contractors at the various terminals. In order to be able to do this properly and safely, a wide range of substantive knowledge is essential. For example, they must have knowledge of welding, working safely at heights and working in confined spaces. In addition, it is important that the Field Supervisors have good communication skills. When they are able to direct the contractors in a pleasant manner, the contractors are able to carry out their jobs with confidence and dangerous situations are kept to a minimum. Irma explains: "In mid-2017, the technical managers of our Vopak Botlek and Europoort sites requested a customised Field Supervisor Training course covering both aspects to be developed. In other words, both the deepening of substantive knowledge and the improvement of management qualities. We then sat down together and started by mapping out the purpose of the training and the conditions. Next, we entered into discussions with various training centres and eventually opted for DELTA Safety Training."
"Our Field Supervisors always return enthusiastically from training. The entourage at DELTA Safety Training certainly plays its part in this. It's nice to be there."
The pictures shown are taken before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic
Partnership and teamwork
Irma explains: "For every topic, we have asked an expert within Vopak to contribute their knowledge. The content of the technical disciplines has been compiled from the collective expertise of Vopak and DELTA Safety Training. We chose DELTA Safety Training due to their expertise and flexibility. DELTA Safety Training has a great deal of knowledge in relation to working at heights and in confined spaces, flange connections, scaffolding, industrial cleaning and the safe movement of loads. Vopak's technical specialists have enriched the content where necessary and tailored it to Vopak standards. The development has been a continuous process in which we have applied valuable, new ideas time and time again. For instance, we put up a photo wall to show all kinds of different scenarios within the Vopak site and some of these situations will be recreated on the last day by means of a role play. In total, the entire development took a year, from initial idea to the launch of the first training course"
When we asked Irma whether they had faced any specific challenges during the development and implementation of the training, she answered that the entire process actually went rather smoothly. For an organisation of this calibre and a training course of this size, this is pretty unique. Obviously, we are very curious to find out what Irma considers to be the secret factors behind this success. Irma explains: "The success of the smooth development but also that of the training itself is mainly due to the fact that we stayed true to Vopak standards and work with familiar situations. The training is always kicked off by a Vopak director or by a Vopak technical manager. Then the training starts with a gripping video of an employee who once had a fall and is now in a wheelchair. This video often leaves a deep impression. Both the kick-off by the management and the video are meant to demonstrate the importance of the training and of safe working practices in general, to all those who are present. What's more, it also helps that the entire training is has the regular look and feel that you can expect from Vopak. The training always ends in a pleasant, informal way. In fact, our Field Supervisors always return enthusiastically from the training. The entourage at DELTA Safety Training certainly plays its part in this. It's nice to be there."
The main objective of the customised Field Supervisor Training and the other initiatives integrated by Vopak, is to guarantee the content of the knowledge. A colleague must not only be in possession of a valid certificate but must also be able to apply the acquired knowledge in practice. The customised training courses are perfect for keeping employees' knowledge top of mind. This allows team members to confidently carry out their work in a pleasant way.
If your organisation is also in need of a customised training course to guarantee knowledge and you want to find out what your options are, book a meeting and Marlous will be happy to discuss the personal details with you.
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