Verification of Competency
Verification Of Competency | Operator Refresher CourseVOC or verification of competency is a relatively new term to the workplace when it comes to operating machinery or equipment.
The New Work Place Health and Safety Act and Regulations that came into force in January 2012 place greater emphasis on the responsibilities of an employer and less on the Regulators themselves.
The Employer (Principal Contractor on a large Civil Works job) has a primary duty of care to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers. Anyone working within that business must exercise due diligence to ensure that the Employer complies with their duty of care. This is really ” chain of responsibility” going up and down the Workforce as a whole, no-one can hide under this new Legislation.
In the old days competency was never checked… you obtained your Licence … you presented your Licence on site when asked … and it was just accepted that you could operate. This practice is no longer acceptable under current Legislation. De-regulation of Licences together with the new WHS Legislation has turned this situation on its head, an employer must check that a worker (includes a contractor) is safe on a particular machine, doing a specific task. This is often referred to as “current competency”.
Therefore, VOC is something an employer can just ask you to do at any time, as part of their safety requirements, induction process etc. Workers will have to come to terms with this if they want to operate machinery. Even if you hold an old style OHS Licence, this may or may not be acceptable to an employer.
You may operate somewhere for several months on your old OHS style Licence and then one day out of the blue, an employer may just turn round and request that you upgrade to a current competency card. They are within their rights to do this. There are competencies for nearly everything now … 3 competencies alone to cover the front end loader, civil, mining and underground – whilst the operation of the machine itself is in essence remains the same, the workplace and site requirements are very different and this is where VOC comes in.
Pre-requisite Requirements You cannot obtain a VOC for a machine on which you have previously not undertaken any training and assessment. For example, you may hold an old plastic style licence for the excavator obtained in 1998 and your employer has asked you to bring this through to “current competency”. This situation would be classed as a VOC.
You will need to show proof of this previous training and assessment before we conduct a VOC for you i.e old Licence, Statement of Attainment for a course undertaken etc.
We would be unable to conduct a VOC for you if you had an old excavator licence but you wanted a VOC for a skid steer. This is a different machine. However, we would be able to undertake a Recognised Prior Learning 1 day gap training course for you.
VOC Process VOC takes approximately 2-3 hours to administer. We can deliver the VOC process on any site including our own.
Whilst this structured assessment is a process to formalise your current competency, we will endeavour to conduct the process in the least stressful way possible, asking you to talk about the machinery and workplace and demonstrate what you know, rather than the very formal and austere approach of a practical driving test for example. However, you will be required to show that you have the underpinning knowledge by answering theoretical questions and that you have the necessary operating techniques by practical demonstration. You may also need to provide copies of workplace documents you have completed such as JSA’s etc.
Our Trainers and Assessors have experience in the industry, they know what is included within the units of competency for the different machines and what needs to be covered off to be competent to operate that particular machine in the workplace. For them watching someone operate and talk about machinery is rather like a mate of yours saying they can ride a motorbike … you can soon tell when they get on with arms and legging flailing everywhere, that is more like they think they can … rather than they can. If you are deemed not competent for the job that you are being asked to do, it will be discussed with you and your employer options for further training, logbook hours etc.
VOC is best conducted on site to meet worksite specific requirements rather than a generic assessment done on our machinery. For backhoe it has to be done on employer’s machine as we do not have the machine in our yard at the present time.
TIP: It is worth taking the time to photocopy your old OHS Licences, if you misplace your Licences, you will be unable to obtain replacements from WHSQ, or even proof that you ever held them. For many people, a great deal of money has been invested in obtaining these Licences and to stand in front of a potential employer and not be able to prove you ever held competency will be positively frustrating. To then hear that you may have to commence training again from scratch (given that you cannot prove you ever held any competencies) will turn a frustrating situation into a costly, stressful exercise.