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We strive for absolute safety

Omexom and TenneT employees, as well as other contractors, who want to start working on TenneT stations must demonstrate that they have the right knowledge and skills. And safety is an indispensable part of that. ‘We offer training courses and exams based on the KEB and strive for absolute safety,’ says Thealize Roorda from Van der Heide.

What are Omexom and TenneT employees and other contractors tested on before they are allowed to work on TenneT sites?

‘On five parts,’ says Thealize. ‘Firstly, the KEB. This electrical safety framework document was drawn up by TenneT to improve safety for people working on sites. It deals with a technique that is very specific to their fields. The KEB is a supplement to the general rules of procedure and applies to all locations at sea, as well as to their sites on land. Other grid operators have their own approach.’

Are they also tested in other areas?

‘Yes, we also test them on the NEN 3140 and NEN 3840 standards, and then on the specific field that TenneT specializes in: low and high voltage. A large part of the training is dedicated to safety, but it also focuses on a fundamental knowledge of electrical engineering. We test people on whether they have the right training and skills. If not, then they can’t take the exam. Without that knowledge, you simply can’t work safely.’

9. Thealize Roorda

What role does safety play in the training?

‘Safety plays a vital role in all parts of the training’ It is ultimately a matter of not putting yourself and others at risk, and making sure the location is safe. That is the primary objective. That is what we try to hammer home – we try to get people to live and breathe safety. It needs to be hardwired. Just having a piece of paper to say you’ve passed isn’t enough. We train people not only for the final level of the Stipel certification, but also to think about safety in practice, so they hold each other to account for their behaviour. It’s quite a challenge. Safety needs to become a sixth sense for them.’

And how does Van der Heide do that?

‘Through blended learning. We provide the training in the classroom, on the job at TenneT locations, and in our own training centres. We also use e-learning and soon even VR. We have already launched a VR pilot for NEN 3140, which we will use this year to raise awareness among people. That way, people can get a better feel for what they are doing. You can have something explained to you several times, but experiencing it yourself is what really helps it to sink in. We draw on people who have experienced an unsafe situation themselves. We do that using pictures of the situation and ask them to explain what has happened and what the consequences are, including in personal terms. That really strikes a chord with trainees.’

What will training look like in the future?

‘We currently do a lot of classroom training. But we are in the process of developing a learning experience. This will involve coaching people individually to take the exam, as everyone has different areas they need to focus on more. People’s knowledge, skills, behaviour, and way of learning can vary. Our ultimate goal is to tailor the learning processes to the individual and make it a more pleasant experience, so that they want to learn rather than feel they have to.’

Does the training fit in well with practice?

‘Absolutely. Because the training is partly delivered at TenneT locations, we are also looking at how we can make this less of a burden on TenneT stations as much as possible. This could be by using clips, practical examples, and also VR in the near future. Every month, we check with TenneT to see whether our approach still fits in well with reality. If not, then we will change or enhance our approach.’

How do you respond to developments in technology and techniques?

‘Through continuous contact and consultation with the client. Then we look at what is needed and modify our training accordingly. It’s tailor-made safety, after all.’