Certification of operators




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CERTIFICATION OF OPERATORS

Annual Situation Report

2001

DRAFT FOR ENDORSEMENT

[17 October 2001]

Table of Contents and Context

Table of Contents

Table of Contents and Context

Executive Summary

1 Background

2 Status of Adoption of the National Standard

3 Comparability against Overseas Equivalents

4 Stakeholder Concerns and Issues

5 Status of All Referenced Materials

6 Other Developments and Emerging Issues

7 Assessment of Efficiency and Effectiveness

8 Actions to Facilitate Improvements

Context of Annual Situation Reports

  1. The National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) has declared seven national priority standards that, together, are estimated to cover eighty percent of work related injury, death and disease within Australia. The standards are:

1. Manual handling 5. Certification of Operators

2. Plant 6. Hazardous substances

3. Major hazard facilities 7. Dangerous goods

4. Noise

  1. In April 2001, NOHSC approved a program for continuously improving the national standards and related materials for each of the seven priority areas. Underpinning this program is regular reporting to identify innovation and monitor the efficacy of the national regulatory materials. The reporting is expected to identify issues and potential improvements that will need to be considered in more detail.

  2. Annual Situation Reports are the main report on each priority area. They:

    1. assess the status of adoption of national materials by each jurisdiction;

    2. compare key components of the national materials with standards maintained by comparable major overseas OHS agencies;

    3. document and analyse concerns identified by NOHSC stakeholders;

    4. assess national and jurisdictional performance against agreed indicators and assess the efficiency and effectiveness of declared priority standards;

    5. identify developments or emerging issues; and

    6. identify the status of all referenced materials.

Executive Summary

  1. This is the first Annual Situation Report on Certification of Operators. [The National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) endorsed it on 17 August 2001.]

  2. Key findings of the Annual Situation Report are that, in terms of:

    1. adoption of national regulatory materials, each jurisdiction has adopted all elements of the national standard.

    2. overseas comparisons, the countries examined (UK, USA, NZ and EU) regulate certification but tend to do so with less specificity and in individual codes of practice rather than an all-encompassing standard.

    3. stakeholders’ concerns, further analysis to identify appropriate responses is called for in relation to changing technology and vocational education and training developments.

    4. referenced materials, three documents are referenced. One is an interim document from 1991 and two are superceded documents from 1991 and 1992. They need to be assessed to identify their ongoing validity and implications of updates.

    5. efficacy, data is too limited to enable a full assessment of the national regulatory materials. However, based on the analysis of this annual situation report, they remain the appropriate model for facilitating a nationally consistent regulatory framework for certification of operators.

  3. The report concludes that no amendments are currently required to the national standard or code of practice. It identifies two action areas (including accountabilities and timeframes) where work is to be undertaken during 2001 02 to facilitate improvements in the national regulatory materials. The actions areas are:

    1. assessment (for consideration in 2002) of possible responses to selected issues, namely: (1) treatment of remote controlled tower cranes, (2) aspects of administration and management of issuing certificates such as certificates granted for life and training and assessment by the same person, (3) implications of changing technology, and (4) developments in the vocational education and training sector, particularly the implementation of the Australian Quality Training Framework; and

    2. development (for consideration in 2002) of proposals to update the national regulatory materials for changes to referenced materials.

1 Background

  1. This is the first Annual Situation Report on Certification of Operators; one of NOHSC’s seven priority hazard areas. Subsequent reports will expand on it and will report on performance against the actions for improvement set out in Section 8 below.

  2. The national regulatory materials for certification of operators consist of:

    1. National Occupational Health and Safety Certification Standard for Users and Operators of Industrial Equipment; and

    2. National Guidelines for Occupational Health and Safety Competency Standards for the Operation of Loadshifting Equipment and other types of Specified Equipment.

  3. NOHSC declared the national standard in 1992. Its objective is to achieve nationally uniform competency based OHS certification standards for work involving, or tasks associated with, the use and operation of industrial equipment.

    1. A second edition was released in January 1995. It made minor changes, including the addition of the Commonwealth regulatory authority, changes to definitions of slewing and non-slewing mobile cranes and the deletion of piling and the use of cranes for demolition.

    2. A third edition was declared in 2001 (by NOHSC on 25 July 2001 and gazetted on 26 September 2001). It made minor changes to provide for technical and administrative improvements that do not alter the policy settings of the standard, including updating of definitions and references, replacing references to ‘National Training Board’ to ‘Australian National Training Authority’ and clarify the intent of clauses in the light of implementation experience over the preceding eight years.

  4. Preceding declaration of the third edition, a comprehensive review was undertaken. The review evaluated the continuing need for OHS certification in the light of the effectiveness of the role of certification in reducing OHS hazards and risks and developments in competency-based training. Its key conclusions were that:

    1. the national standard has provided the framework for achieving a highly consistent approach by jurisdictions to certification of users and operators of industrial equipment. All jurisdictions issue national certificates for each of the twenty-six classes of equipment covered by the standard and national certificates are recognised in each jurisdiction.

    2. there is a continuing need for OHS certification. However, it identified a course of action by which, in the medium term, regulation in this area can be simplified and the OHS sector can reduce its involvement in favour of the vocational education and training sector. This includes gradually removing differing treatments by jurisdictions of certification for equipment classes that are covered by the National Loadshifting Guidelines.

    3. a revised edition of the national standard was required to incorporate technical and administrative improvements.

  5. Data specifically on certification of operators is not available but safe use and operation of potentially hazardous equipment is a significant OHS issue. The most recently available workers’ compensation data (1998 99) show that operators of plant and machinery account for twenty-four per cent of compensated fatalities.

2 Status of Adoption of the National Standard

  1. The current adoption status of the certification standard, by jurisdiction, is presented in Error: Reference source not found. It provides information on the ‘take-up’ by jurisdiction of six key elements of the standard. The table shows that each jurisdiction has adopted all elements of the national standard.

Table 1 - Status of Adoption1 of National Certification Standard –June 2001

National Standard

Consistency by JurisdictionKey ElementClauseNSWVic1. Objective and principles3.1-11YYYY2. Interpretation4.1YYYYY3. General Certification requirements5.1–42YYYYYY4. Certificate Classes and competency standards for scaffolding and rigging.Sched. AYYYYYYY5. Certificate classes and competency standards for crane and hoist operation.Sched. BYYYYYYYY26. Certificate classes and competency standards for pressure equipment operationSched. CYYYYYYYY2YYOverall consistency-YYYYYYYYYYNOTES:

1 Adoption is assessed against key elements of the national standard (which are defined as aspects of the standard for which national consistency is considered important). The assessment is as follows:

  • the following coding has been used to record each jurisdiction’s legal requirements against each key element:

Y the key element has been fully adopted in the jurisdictional framework;

M most of the key element has been adopted in the jurisdictional framework;

P only a portion of the key element has been adopted in the jurisdictional framework;

N the key element has not been adopted in the jurisdictional framework; and

? status of adoption yet to be determined.

  • the assessment is not restricted to OHS regulations. It is determined by whether a jurisdiction has a legal requirement equivalent to the key element irrespective of the body of legislation or legal practice that provides the basis for the requirement.

  • overall consistency ratings are calculated for each key element, each jurisdiction and the standard. These ratings indicate the sources of national consistency/inconsistency. They are not weighted for size of jurisdictions or the relative importance that may be assigned to key elements. In calculating overall ratings individual “?” are excluded. Ratings of “Y” and “N” require all components to have the same rating. Ratings between these two are averages of the components’ ratings.

2 Commonwealth Regulation requires the holding of a certificate issued by a State/Territory Authority. Therefore, in effect, this represents complete consistency with the requirements of the standard3 Comparability against Overseas Equivalents

New Zealand

  1. New Zealand does not have an inclusive certification standard for users and operators of industrial equipment. Its framework for competency is included in individual codes of practice through the following statement:

“Employers shall ensure employees are either sufficiently experienced to do their work safely or are supervised by an experienced person. In addition, employees shall be adequately trained in the safe use of all plant, objects, substances and protective clothing and equipment that the employee may be required to use or handle”.

  1. New Zealand has individual codes of practice covering the scope of the National Certification Standard. These are:

    1. Approved Code of Practice For Canes- Includes the Design, Manufacture, Supply, Safe Operation, Maintenance and Inspection, March 2001.

    2. Approved Code of Practice For The Safe Erection and Use Of Scaffolding, Revised 1995.

    3. Approved Code of Practice for the Design, Safe Operation, Maintenance and Servicing of Boilers, 1996.

  2. The New Zealand ‘Approved Codes of Practice’ are provided for in section 20 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. The codes are statements of preferred work practice or arrangements. Compliance with codes of practice is not mandatory. However, they may be used as evidence of ‘good practice’ in court.

United Kingdom

  1. The United Kingdom does not have an OHS certification standard. OHS competency is incorporated into individual legislation using requirements such as “…examination by a competent person…”.

  2. The United Kingdom has two major Regulations referring to industrial equipment:

    1. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (Statutory Instrument 1998 No. 2306); and

    2. Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (Statutory Instrument 1998 No. 2307).

  3. These regulations do not specify competency requirements apart from noting “… employees who use, supervise or manage the use of, work equipment have received adequate training for the purposes of health and safety …”.

  4. The Health and Safety Executive has accredited third party providers who are used by the employer to run health and safety competency certification for various construction activities and tasks including scaffolding, hoists, etc.

United States

  1. The United States does not have a specific certification standard but references ‘competent person’ in its health and safety standards. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) identify a competent person as “... an individual who, by way of training and/or experience, is knowledgeable of applicable standards, is capable of identifying workplace hazards relating to the specific operation, is designated by the employer, and has authority to take appropriate actions ...”.

  2. As a general rule, OHSA OHS Standards identify that it is the employer’s responsibility to determine the level of OHS competency and training required by an employee.

European Union

  1. The Member States of the European Union traditionally see the role of OHS certification as a tool for selecting the expertise of safety-engineers, occupational physicians, occupational health specialists, ergonomists etc. This is seen as important for determining the quality of the services the professionals can provide. In this regard there is a move to incorporate competency and certification into quality assurance practices.

  2. Most Member States have a positive attitude towards certification but some stress that it does not always provide sufficient guarantees for safety. Some Member States are suggesting expanding the need for competency certification because it is generally only used when high risks are involved. Member States have raised issues about who should determine competency, the organisations or a central agency and the subsequent implications of a European standard on OHS management practices.

  3. The Member States all provide OHS training for employees, employee representatives, and employees with specific OHS responsibilities. However, there is a general push to make OHS issues a more integral part of vocational training, more workplace specific and some are considering an industry sector-orientated approach.

Implications for Australia

  1. The information provided above identifies that international practice is to include certification requirements into individual codes of practice rather than having an all-encompassing standard. While the Australian Standard is not in line with this international practice, the 1999-2000 review of the certification standard identifies the acceptance by jurisdictions and continuing need for the Australian model.

4 Stakeholder Concerns and Issues

  1. The 1999 2000 review of the national standard enabled a broad based canvassing of stakeholder and other concerns. It did not identify any significant issues with the current national regulatory materials1.

  2. Public comment on the technical and administrative changes in the third edition of the national standard identified concerns in relation to tower cranes, life term of certificates and training and assessment matters. These and other developments have highlighted two areas that have the potential to impact on the ongoing suitability of the current versions of the national regulatory materials.

  3. Changing technology is likely to impact on the effectiveness of the national standard’s focus on twenty-six classes of equipment. The emergence of new and changing technology may have an impact on or affect such things as life term of certificates and training and assessment issues.

    1. Hazards created by existing classes can change and new classes of hazardous equipment can emerge. Public comment on the third edition of the standard identified a potential case, remote controlled tower cranes. More generally, issues have been raised regarding self-erecting structures, life term of certificates and training and assessment issues as well as issues that are more general related to changing technology. Unless the nationally consistent certification framework established by the national standard can adapt to these changes, individual jurisdictional responses are likely to emerge. In addition, the potential for these changes raises the issue of whether the longer-term focus should remain equipment class based or be focused on processes that can respond satisfactorily to change.

    2. The continued appropriateness of requirements that impact on the administration and management of issuing certificates (e.g., certificates that are granted for life and training and assessment being conducted by the same person) are also highlighted by changing technology.

  4. The Australian National Training Authority commenced implementation of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) in June 2001 and anticipates full implementation by July 2002. AQTF replaces the earlier recognition frameworks drawn on in the national standard. AQTF:

    1. raises, and more clearly specifies, requirements of registered training organisations;

    2. improves auditing arrangements;

    3. introduces standards and agreed processes for registering/course accrediting bodies;

    4. makes auditing of training and assessment activities clearer, more transparent and more consistent.

Implications and Next Steps

  1. While the above analysis does not indicated the need for immediate action to amend the national regulatory materials, further analysis, monitoring of developments and identification of appropriate responses is required in response to the issues identified.

5 Status of All Referenced Materials

Australian Standards

The national standard does not reference Australian Standards.

Other References

  1. Three documents are referenced in the national standard. Two of the references are to documents issued at specific dates in 1991 and 1992; both documents have been superceded. The other reference is to an interim NOHSC document issued in 1991. Developments with each document are set out below. The need to be assessed to identify their ongoing validity and implications of updates.

Guide to Assist Reciprocity in the Certification of Operators Involved in the Safe Use of Industrial Equipment, NOHSC, 1991.

  1. The guide was issued as an interim measure in the process of developing a national certification standard. It addressed the immediate needs of jurisdictions for guidance on reciprocal recognition of certificates and to assist introduction of reciprocal recognition arrangements. The guide acts as criteria for assisting the determination of equivalence of certificates.

National Competency Standards: Policy and Guidelines, National Training Board, 1991.

  1. This publication has been superceded by the Policy for Training Package Development, and the Handbook for Training Packages for Developers, which was revised by the National Training Framework Committee on 8 August 2001. The Committee endorses training packages, and advises the Australian National Training Authority board on policies to ensure quality and national consistencies of training outcomes and the relevance of training to industry and regional needs.

National Framework for the Recognition of Training, Agreement of the Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers responsible for vocational education and training, with effect from 1 August 1992.

  1. The National Framework for the Recognition of Training was replaced by the Australian Recognition Framework. In June 2001, the Australian Recognition Framework was reviewed and replaced by two sets of standards. Its name was changed to the Australian Quality Training Framework. Full implementation of the new standards will be from 1 July 2002.

6 Other Developments and Emerging Issues

  1. Apart from the issues in Section 4 and 5, no developments or emerging issues have been identified since declaration of the third edition of the national standard in July 2001.

7 Assessment of Efficiency and Effectiveness

Data Sources

  1. There are few suitable data available for analyses to assess the impact that introduction of the standard has had upon the incidence of work-related injury/disease, or to identify trends and patterns in relevant injury/disease occurrences. This gap in available statistics needs to be quickly addressed, if OHS regulators are to be positioned to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of their regulations and NOHSC is to maximise the utility of its contribution through relevant national standards/codes.

Other Assessments

  1. In the absence of data, guidance on the efficacy of the national regulatory materials can be drawn from analysis in earlier sections of the annual situation report.

    1. The 1999 2000 review was comprehensive and did not identify any significant issues with the existing materials.

    2. It is the basis for jurisdictional regulation that is completely consistent nationally, as measured against the key elements of the standard.

    3. It remains adequate in terms of responding to emerging issues. Several issues may require future changes but no significant elements have been identified as requiring immediate review.

    4. The references in the material are out of date and require assessment as to their ongoing requirement and/or need to be updated.

Conclusion

  1. The lack of suitable data to assess the national noise regulatory materials is a significant impediment to determining its efficiency and effectiveness. However, other considerations indicate that they remain the appropriate model for facilitating a nationally consistent regulatory framework for certification of operators. They are the basis for nationally consistent regulation and have no significant elements that require immediate review.

8 Actions to Facilitate Improvements

  1. In light of the analysis contained in this annual situation report, the following have been identified as areas where specific action is required over the remainder of 2001 02.

Action Area 1 – Assessment of Possible responses to Selected Issues

  1. Four issues have been identified (in Section 4) as potentially impacting on the national certification of operators regulatory materials to the point where amendment may be required to ensure that the materials remain adequate. The issues are:

    1. treatment of remote controlled tower cranes;

    2. aspects of administration and management of issuing certificates such as certificates that are granted for life and training and assessment being conducted by the same person;

    3. general issues related to changing technology, including refocusing the national standard on processes that can respond satisfactorily to changing technology; and

    4. developments in the vocational education and training sector, particularly the implementation of the Australian Quality Training Framework.

  2. Each of these issues is to be comprehensively assessed and outcomes reported in the 2002 annual situation report for certification of operators (or earlier if warranted). The assessment is to involve the following:

    1. the aspects of the issues to be addressed are to include, but not be restricted to, those raised in Section 4 of this annual situation report;

    2. taking account of the relevant outcomes from an industry forum to be conducted by the National Certification Working Group in the first quarter of 2002 and which will discuss issues related specifically to self-erecting structures, life term of certificates and training and assessment issues as well as more general issues related to changing technology;

    3. recommended responses covering at lease one of the following are to included:

      1. proposals to amend national regulatory material including justification;

      2. further work to be undertaken including the outcomes being sought;

      3. that the issue no longer be highlighted for further specific consideration, except where new information comes to light.

Action Area 2 – Updates for Changed Referenced Materials

  1. All referenced documents are from 1991 or 1992. Two have been superceded and the other was an interim document. The 2002 annual situation report is to include recommendations in relation to each document to ensure that the references remain essential and valid.




YYY2YYYY2YYYYY2YYYYYY2YYQldWASATasNTCwthACTALL

1 It identified associated resource materials (outside of the scope of the national regulatory materials) to be updated or developed to facilitate more nationally consistent processes and outcomes. NOHSC has agreed to continue to support jurisdictions in this work, which includes updating National Certification Assessment Instruments, preparing new learning guides for training organisations and applicants, updating guidance materials and developing a national tool for auditing certificate assessors.


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