men by trench


“Training trench” has been installed at the group’s headquarters.

Specialist contractor the O’Keefe group has launched a peerless cable avoidance training (CAT) programme that is already winning industry plaudits.

Over a year in the making, it was prompted by the launch of the O’Keefe bespoke Level 2 Award in utility avoidance and the location of buried services in partnership with training provider CSTA Global.

O’Keefe built on this by investing in a 60m2 dedicated training area at its Cricketts Farm headquarters in Kent. The ”training trench” is named What If? Way after the group’s in-house Health and Safety programme.

This real-world training facility allows users to be taught, the correct use of the CAT and Genny in a safe and controlled environment which has already played host to senior H&S personnel from main contractors such as Wates, Willmott Dixon, Quintain, ISG, Caledonian Modular and BAM, who attended the recent inaugural launch training days, as well as O’Keefe’s own staff.

Aimed at excavation and groundwork operatives, permit receivers/issuers, site engineers, and experienced and novice users, the full day’s training gives them intensive knowledge of this vital piece of equipment, with a heavy emphasis on correct Genny use. It also allows attendees to learn the correct techniques for safe digging practices.

As well as classroom training, candidates are assessed for competence with written and practical tests on the relevant guidance and legislation available, the interpretation of utility providers’ drawings (including their limitations), the capabilities and limitations of CAT and Genny equipment and its use in multiple detection modes, the correct use of connection leads, clamp and earth, equipment calibration, care and maintenance, and interpretation of results gained on site.

Successful attendees are awarded the O’Keefe Level 2 Award.

The training day also includes a presentation by ProGarm, the manufacturer of the arc-rated flame-retardant PPE that O’Keefe operatives wear during cable exposure around known or suspected live utilities.

O’Keefe’s group HSE leader Lucian D’Arco said: “We are confident that our new dedicated training area, combined with the classroom-based Level 2 course material, arc-rated flame-retardant PPE familiarisation, safe digging option and practical CAT and Genny training present an industry-leading training package that currently has no equal.”

And it appears clients agree.

Martin Glover, SHE manager for Wates Residential, said in a letter to the group: “Just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for your hospitality, and most importantly, the outstanding course that you ran. As a result, we have upgraded one of our ‘Bold Commitments’, namely avoiding buried services.

“I have attended several similar courses over the past 20 years yet yours was, by a country mile, the most useful and professional, particularity the bespoke practical training area.”