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Training: An ongoing requirement

21 July 2014

Greg Bordiak, training officer at BCAS (British Compressed Air Society), discusses the latest courses to be offered by the Society, specifically in relation to the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR).


Training is key for ongoing staff development, whether to improve skills, enhance existing knowledge or as part of legislative compliance. With compressed air used in such a wide variety of applications, a thorough understanding is essential, not only to those who supply or service compressors, but for the operatives who use compressed air on a daily basis.  


The PSSR (S.I. 2000 No.128) affect both suppliers and users of compressed air systems. Two provisions include the need for the user to have a written scheme of examination and, as a result of this, the ability to carry out an examination of the compressed air system.

To cover both provisions BCAS offers a range of courses: a one-day workshop, a five-day residential course and a new refresher course to maintain certification with BCAS.

To cover the written scheme, the one-day workshop covers the elements necessary for consideration in the production of the scheme. The workshop provides background of the PSSR and related standards and codes of practice, detailing the knowledge and understanding required as a provider of a written scheme. 

Those attending receive a manual with the current advice on written schemes as well as a BCAS written scheme template, which can be incorporated into company paperwork. A certificate of attendance is issued on completion of the workshop.

The examination element is catered for by a five-day residential course. It provides both knowledge-based and practical ‘hands-on’ modules which include: understanding of compressed air systems and of the PSSR and related standards, appreciation of non-destructive examination techniques and demonstrating practical skills in the testing of relevant safety related devices.

This course has been run very successfully since 1995. As a result of comments received, BCAS has now aligned itself with other industries that offer competence-based courses and has introduced a refresher course for all of those who currently hold certificates.

The one-day refresher course provides updates on the current PSSR and related standards and codes of practice, contributing to the knowledge and understanding required in the role of examiner. 

The course seeks to identify practices developed by applying the skills learned from the original course. A key requirement of the course is that all those attending bring their own test equipment. The test equipment required will be to cover pressure vessel material thickness as well as safety valve and pressure gauge testing devices. Each type of test equipment is required to have current calibration certificates.

As well as assessing the capabilities of those on the course it also provides the opportunity to compare the differing makes and models of equipment and the sharing of experiences.

BCAS introduced time-limited certificates for three years in May 2008.  All those holding such certificates, including those issued prior to May 2008, are being contacted to inform them of the need to attend the refresher course in order to maintain the certification with BCAS.