Certification of operators




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CERTIFICATION OF OPERATORS

Annual Situation Report

2002


July 2002

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, Issues, Other Developments and implications

5 Status of All Referenced Materials

6. Assessment of Efficiency and Effectiveness

7 Actions to Facilitate Improvements

Context of Annual Situation Reports

  1. The National Improvement Framework (NIF) was developed in cooperation with the State, Territory and Commonwealth OHS regulatory authorities as well as the peak employer and employee bodies, for the improvement of OHS in Australia. It aims to improve OHS performance at all levels by all OHS stakeholders, and to guide our collective efforts from 2000 and beyond.

  2. The Workplace Relations Ministers Council (WRMC) agreed at its September 2001 meeting, for NOHSC to develop the NIF as a draft National OHS Improvement Strategy (NIS), and to consider the NIS at its 24 May 2002 meeting.

  3. The NIS has been developed with the guidance of the Review and Strategy Steering Group and in the light of one-on-one consultations with stakeholders.

  4. The draft NIS is a ten-year program that identifies national strategies and targets that will sharpen the activities identified in the NIF. There are five strategies outlined in the NIS. Detailed accountabilities and milestones have or will be developed for each. A limited set of national targets is proposed in the NIS, with scope for additional targets to be added and existing ones refined in light of experience during the first year of implementation of the NIS.

  5. 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

2. Plant 6. Hazardous substances

3. Major hazard facilities 7. Dangerous goods

4. Noise

  1. In April 2001, NOHSC approved a Continuous Improvement Program (CIP) to review and improve the national standards and related materials for each of the seven priority areas. This program is consistent with the draft NIS. Underpinning the CIP 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 and identify developments or emerging issues

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

    5. identify the status of all referenced materials.


Executive Summary

  1. This is the second Annual Situation Report (ASR) on Certification of Operators, endorsed by NOHSC at NOHSC 62, 31 July 2002.

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

    1. The issues arising from the 2001 ASR as requiring further analysis are:

  • self-erecting cranes, National Certification Working Group (NCWG) are preparing a report to NOHSC for June 2002 but preliminary indications are the self-erecting crane will be assessed using the tower cane competencies;

  • issuing of life term certificates, training and assessment, NCWG recommend that it is the employers responsibility to ensure operators are competent negating concerns regarding the issuing of life term certificates;

  • general issues relating to new technology, monitoring and reporting on new and developing technologies is critical to the continuing development of the national material; and

  • developments in Vocational Educational and Training (VET) and Australian Quallity Training Framework (AQTF),

    1. Adoption of national regulatory materials - each jurisdiction had adopted all elements of the national standard and to date there has been no further significant developments.

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

    3. Stakeholders’ concerns - continue monitoring national developments in relation to changing technology, whether the competency requirements in the standard remain consistent with changes made to the assessment instruments, and vocational education and training developments.

    4. Referenced materials - examination of the three documents referenced in the standard indicate that consideration should be given to their removal or update as required at the next review of the national material.

    5. Efficacy – National Data Set (NDS) data is too limited and does not enable a full assessment of the national regulatory materials. Consideration should be given to future use of Premium Discount Scheme (PDS), Positive Performance Indicators (PPI’s) or an Australian Bureau of Statistics study to measure the efficacy of the material. However, the additional analysis in this annual situation report identifies that the national material remains an appropriate model for facilitating a nationally consistent regulatory framework for certification of operators.

  1. The report concludes that no specific amendments are currently required to the national standard. However, a report providing options for addressing new and developing technology is to be prepared and presented in early 2002-2003. Other issues requiring further investigation are to be reported in the 2003 ASR or sooner if required include

    1. monitoring of developments regarding new and developing technology,

    2. assessment of variations between the competency requirements in the standard and assessment instruments,

    3. AQFT / VET and Certification Projects Reference Group (CPRG) issues, and

    4. alternative data measures for assessing the efficacy of the standard.

1 Background

  1. This is the second 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 7 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 [NOHSC:1006(2001)]; and

    2. National Guidelines for Occupational Health and Safety Competency Standards for the Operation of Loadshifting Equipment and other types of Specified Equipment [NOHSC:7019 (1992)].

  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. A second edition was released in January 1995 and a third edition was declared in 2001 (by NOHSC on 25 July 2001 and gazetted on 26 September 2001).

  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:

  • the national standard has provided the framework for achieving a highly consistent approach by jurisdictions to certification of users and operators of industrial equipment.

  • there is a continuing need for OHS certification; and

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

  1. National Data Set for Compensation-based Statistics (NDS) is insufficient to measure the efficacy of the national material. The development and use of a specific measure still remains significant to determine the effect of certification of operators on the safe use and operation of potentially hazardous equipment such as cranes and scaffolding.

  2. The 2001 Annual Situation Report (ASR) identified four issues requiring further analysis and are examined in further detail in this report:

  • treatment of self-erecting cranes,

  • concerns relating to the issuing of life term certificates, training and assessment, and the effect on safety;

  • general issues relating to the impact of new and developing technology on the national material; and

  • developments in Vocational Eduction and Training sector and Australian Quality Training Framework.

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 – May 2002

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 support the Health and Safety in Employment (Pressure Equipment, cranes, and Passenger Ropeways) Regulation 1999 and include:

    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.

    4. Approved code of Practice for Pressure Equipment (Excluding Boilers).

  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 continues to be 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. Though these regulations are currently under review they still 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 still 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. There has been no further development in regards to this process during the 2001-2002 report period.

European Union

  1. The Member States of the European Union have to date traditionally seen the role of OHS certification as a tool for selecting the expertise of safety-engineers, occupational physicians, occupational health specialists, ergonomists etc rather than as a general tool for all employees engaged in the use of machinery and plant. This has been seen as important for determining the quality of the services the professionals can provide, rather than a method of achieving consistent competencies. In this regard there is a move to incorporate competency and certification into quality assurance practices.

  2. Most Member States maintain a positive attitude towards certification but some still consider certification as not being a consistent method for providing 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. However, there has been no consistent action taken to develop a specific standard.

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

Implications for Australia

  1. The information provided above identifies that international practice include certification requirements into individual codes of practice and as part of quality assurance practices 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 identified the acceptance by jurisdictions and continuing need and support for the Australian model.

4 Stakeholder Concerns, Issues, Other Developments and implications

Stakeholder Concerns

  1. Stakeholders have raised several concerns regarding the information and actions identified in the 2002 ASR. Specific comments received are summarised here and other issues are addressed as appropriate in context in the following section.

  2. At NOHSC 61, members requested that, when conducting reviews and assessments of standards, that consideration be given to construction industry issues. This issue will be taken into consideration when making recommendations in future ASR’s.

Issues, developments and implications

  1. The Certification of Operators ASR 2001 identified four issues as potentially impacting on the national standard; self-erecting cranes, new and emerging technology, issuing certificates for life and VET and AQTF developments.

Self-erecting cranes / new and developing technology

  1. Initial investigation by the NOHSC office into self-erecting cranes has identified that this issue may well be able to be addressed using the current tower crane assessment instrument. The National Certification Working Group (NCWG) discussed this matter their May 2002 and is preparing a report on the issue for presentation to the NOHSC Prevention Committee in June 2002.

  2. While the issue of self-erecting cranes may well be addressed with only slight modification to the assessment instruments the emergence of new and developing technologies requires ongoing surveillance. In 1996 the NCWG developed a process for determining the requirements for national certification. This approach examines the requirements of the certification standard and loadshifitng guidelines and compares this to the technical aspects of the new equipment. If full application of the current assessment instruments is not possible the NCWG determines if changes can be made to the assessment instrument or whether a recommendation be made to NOHSC to change national material.

  3. This approach by the NCWG enables adaptation of the national material to new technologies through the assessment instruments but does not preclude the possible need to amend the national material. However, this procedure does raise the issue of whether the requirements of the national material are still suitable and whether the requirements of national assessment instruments are superior and should be used to update the national material.

  4. The NCWG is also seeking to advise. through the Certification Project Reference Group (CPRG), of the need for an improved, quick and efficient method of reviewing the OHS competencies in the national standard and loadshifting guidelines so that flexibility is given to the national certification system. Such a method would allow for advice of new competencies that reflect new technology and work practices to be quickly given to NOHSC, Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) and training providers.

  5. Since the 2001 ASR other new technologies have been identified include the new City crane, imported into NSW in 2002, mini-diggers commonly known as Dingos and Remote Controlled Skid Steer Loaders. The City crane is still under consideration by the NCWG but early indications are that it, more than likely, can be assessed using the Tower Crane Certificate. The assessment of the Dingo, by NSW, is through the criteria for the ‘Front End Loader – Skid Steer’ (LS) licence criteria. However, the Remote Controlled Skid Steer Loaders are a unique piece of plant produced in Queensland that identify a new area of technology, robotics, which could potentially create difficulties under the current OHS competencies. NCWG are reviewing the technical characteristics of the Loader to determine the relevance to the certification regulation.

Life time certificates, training and assessment

  1. The impact of new and developing technologies on such things as life term of certificates, and training/assessment has been assessed by the NCWG with the response provided to NOHSC in January 2002. The NCWG report identified, ‘The 1999 review of the National Standard presented a unanimous position from the Technical Review Group that lifetime issue of certificates remains valid. This view reflected a majority opinion on the NCWG. This position was reached on the basis that the employer retains a duty of care obligation to ensure that equipment is operated safely. The review reaffirmed the policy approach that certificates issued by OHS authorities in the jurisdictions are statements that employees have the underpinning competencies to perform work safely. Certificates issued do not replace duty of care obligations. Cost and administrative implications for industry and governments are also disincentives for renewals’. Based on this advice changes are not required, at this time, to the national material.

vet - aqtf

  1. In the continuing process to gain consistency within the sphere of the Vocational Education Training sector within Australia, the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) 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:

(a) raises and more clearly specifies requirements of registered training organisations;

    1. improves auditing arrangements;

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

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

  1. A steering committee has been set up by ANTA with representatives from all jurisdictions to monitor the implementation process of the AQTF. Key dates for implementation over the past 12 months are as follows:

  • (i) Until 31 Dec 2001: organisations applying for initial registration, renewal of registration or extension of scope, will be assessed for compliance with the Australian Recognition Framework Arrangements 1999, or with the agreement of both the registering/course accrediting body and the applicant, may be assessed for compliance against the new Standards for Registered Training Organisations ( RTO’s).

  • (ii) From 1 Jan 2002: organisations applying for initial registration, renewal of registration or extension of scope will be assessed for compliance with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations.

  1. From 1 July 2002 all existing registered training organisations and new applicants must comply with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations. All audits will be against these standards.

  1. NCWG is endorsing a proposal to CPRG calling for a joint working group between CPRG, state training authorities and ANTA on issues of progressing the integration of OHS competencies into the VET system. NCWG identify that they see this proposal as an ideal opportunity to conduct consultation with VET sector stakeholders around the WRMC to progressively withdraw from the statutory certification of loadshifting classes.

Implications and Next Steps

  1. The 2003 ASR will continue to monitor the effect of new and developing technologies on the efficacy of the national material. The implications of advice from the NCWG on self-erecting cranes, robotics and the CPRG development of approach to new technology on the national material will need to be further considered. NOHSC office will prepare an option paper for addressing new and developing technology for presentation to the September 2002 Prevention Committee.

  2. Analysis of the variations between the competencies in the national material and the assessment instruments needs to be considered in regard to the need for updates to the national material.

  3. Under the AQTF arrangements Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s) will be audited regularly to gauge their compliance and implementation against new standards for Registered Training Organisations. This will give some measure of performance on the training and assessment of competencies in line with required outcomes of the National Standard.

  4. While the above analysis does not indicate the need for immediate action to amend the national regulatory materials, further analysis, monitoring of developments and identification of appropriate responses is required to further address the current and future issues identified.


5 Status of All Referenced Materials

Australian Standards

  1. The national standard does not reference Australian Standards.

Other References

  1. There were three documents referenced in the national standard. Two of the references are to documents issued at specific dates in 1991 and 1992; both documents have been superseded. The other reference is to an interim NOHSC document issued in 1991. These documents were assessed to identify their ongoing validity and implications of updates and the results stated below:

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

This document was assessed for its ongoing validity. The Guide is considered to be still relevant in the context of its inclusion within the standard. The different jurisdictions have all adopted the key elements of the standard into their own regulatory framework, recognise certificates of qualification from other jurisdictions and now produce their own guidance material that are consistent with the principles of the Continuous Improvement Program.

In view of the jurisdictional adoption of the Guide, it is no longer considered relevant as a guide to reciprocal recognition of certificates. This reference should be removed from the Standard in the next major review under the Council of Australian Government (COAG) Principles and Guidelines for National Standard Setting.

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

This document was assessed for its ongoing validity in view of it being superseded by updated material called the Handbook for Training Packages for Developer. This new updated material reflects a more nationally consistent approach to the development, delivery and assessment of training packages, together with the assessment of nationally recognised qualification and certification.

However the specific context of the reference in the Preface section of the Standard is still applicable to the new material and as such should be updated in the next major review under the COAG principles.

    1. 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.

This document was assessed for its ongoing validity in view of it being superseded by the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQFT). The reference in the standard to the superseded document is specific to the definition of Registered Training Organisations. Though the definition has been broadened to accommodate the transition to the new nationally agreed standards under the AQTF, the core definition is still valid in context to the National Standard.

This reference should be removed or updated to reflect the new framework name in the next major review under the COAG principles.

Implications and next steps

  1. All referenced documents have either been superseded or are no longer considered relevant for use. However, the specific context of the references in the standard, are still relevant. Given this, it is recommended that they currently remain. However consideration should be given to changing the references when the Standard undergoes its next major review and/ or when updated materials change the context of their current use.


6. Assessment of Efficiency and Effectiveness

Data Sources

  1. The NOHSC Statistic Team has examined the NDS data for the NOHSC priority standards to identify trends in injury and disease, the extract regarding Certification can be found at Attachment 1.

  2. There is still insufficient 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. National Data Set (NDS) data can only be extracted for cranes and scaffolding and not the other classifications of Industrial Equipment as detailed in the National Standard. The NDS indicates that cranes, (being hit by moving objects) and scaffolding (falls, trips and slips) continue to be the predominate mechanism of injuries whereas sprains & strains, fractures and contusions with intact skin and Crush injuries continue to be the predominate injuries recorded.

  3. There remains a need to address this gap in available data if OHS regulators are to be able to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of their regulations in an appropriate manner and for NOHSC to maximise its contribution through relevant national standards/codes.

options for alternate sources of data

  1. The Statistics Team identified that NDS-based data do not cover near-misses or dangerous occurrences, for example, explosions, spillages or releases of hazardous substances/dangerous goods, scaffolding collapses, mal-function of plant, where no death or injury has resulted. However, these occurrences are all indicators of unsafe workplaces or practices. More relevant data on the impact of a national standard in preventing hazardous situations and therefore, injury and disease, could be collected by site visits to select companies to access incident (accident) registers.

  2. Valuable information could be gained from the Premium Discount Scheme (PDS) recently introduced by NSW Workcover. The PDS works via approved Premium Discount Advisers who audit employers and verify that they have met certain benchmarks on OHS and injury management. Industry OHS assessment against positive performance indicators may also be a useful data source in the future.

  3. Another option could be to commission an ABS survey that measures the impact of a national standard.

Other Assessments

  1. In the absence of satisfactory 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 currently adequate in terms of responding to emerging issues. Several issues need to be monitored and 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. However, after assessment of their ongoing validity it has been established that they are still valid in context to their use within the National Standard. However consideration should be given to their removal from, or update in the Standard.

Conclusion

  1. The lack of suitable data for assessing the national certification materials still remains a significant impediment to determining its efficiency and effectiveness. However, other considerations indicate that the national material remains the appropriate model for facilitating a nationally consistent regulatory framework and remain the basis for nationally consistent regulation.

  2. The future use of PDS data, development of PPI’s or the commissioning of an ABS survey may be the way forward for measuring the efficacy of the national materials. A more detailed examination of these options needs to be considered in the next ASR.

7 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 2002 03 report period. The issues being considered and the action to be taken are outlined below:

Action Area 1 – Assessment of new and developing technologies

    1. Self erecting cranes:

The National Certification Working Group (NCWG), at the May 2002 meeting, identified they were preparing a report on self-erecting cranes to be forwarded to NOHSC in June 2002. The recommendations of this report may provide the direction for dealing with new technology and will require consideration to determine the effect on the national material.

    1. NCWG advice on robotics

      The NCWG is examining the issue of robotics and the effect on national assessment instruments for discussion at the November 2002 meeting. Information from this assessment will be examined for impact on the national regulatory material.

    2. General issues related to changing technology, including refocusing the national standard on processes that can respond satisfactorily to changing technology.

Consideration will be given to the need for broadening or changing the equipment classes in the Standard, or alternatively, identifying other processes that may be more flexible to changes within the workplace. This issue will be canvassed through the Certification Information Sharing Network, other stakeholders and social partners to identify further options.

Action Area 2 - Implications of developments in administration of certification

    1. The consideration of the ongoing suitability of the competency requirements in the national material and specifically whether the assessment instruments are now superior to these requirements and the impact of the variations on the national standard.

    2. Developments in the Vocational Education and Training sector, particularly the implementation of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF):

The development within the Vocational Education and Training sector has focused on the implementation of the AQTF which is applied by States and Territories when:

      1. registering organisations to deliver training, assess competency and issue Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualifications

      2. auditing registered training organisations (RTOs) to ensure they meet (and continue to meet) the requirements of the AQTF

      3. applying mutual recognition and

      4. accrediting courses.

The AQTF includes two new sets of standards. One being for Registered Training Organizations, and the other for State and Territory Registering/Course Accrediting Bodies. The implementation of these standards is to be completed by June 2002 and the uptake of the standards will then be audited by the various jurisdictions over the next twelve months. This may give some measure of performance against the National Standard as competency training and assessment is continuously and more consistently improved.

Progress of this issue will be monitored for impact against the Standards performance and reported in the 2003 Annual Situation Report

Action Area 3 – Examination of Alternative Data Sources

  1. The preceding ASR again identified that NDS data is not a suitable measure for assessing the national material. The assessment of alternative data sources, PDS, PPI’s or an Australian Bureau of Statistics survey, to measure the efficacy of the national material will be considered in the 2003 ASR.

Assessment

  1. Each of these issues is being currently considered and options for assessment are being comprehensively reviewed and outcomes reported in 2002 - 2003 annual situation report for certification (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 this annual situation report;

    2. consideration of relevant outcomes from the NCWG and the Certification Information Sharing Network; and

    3. recommend responses covering at lease one of the following are to include:

      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.

  2. The following is an extract from a paper prepared in January 2002 by the NOHSC Data Policy and Analysis, Statistics Team.

EXAMINATION OF NDS-BASED DATA for THE PERIOD OF DECLARATION OF THE NOHSC PRIORITY NATIONAL STANDARDS:

1992-1993 to 1999-2000

SUMMARY OF MAIN FINDINGS

  1. NDS-based data were examined over the period 1992-1993 to 1999-2000 to examine any trends in injury/disease that may coincide with the introduction during the 1990’s of the NOHSC seven priority National Standards:

  2. Certification: Data examined focused on cranes and scaffolding in the Construction industry. Compared to 1992-1993, most jurisdictions (except Victoria) have seen decreases in 1999-2000 in the incidence rate of injury/disease claims involving cranes and scaffolding. Downward trends would be expected since the declaration of the NOHSC Certification standard, however, for most jurisdictions no discernible trend in incidence rate is observed over the period 1992-1993 to 1999-2000. For Cranes Being Hit by Moving Objects and for Scaffolding Falls, Trips & Slips continue as the predominant mechanism of injuries. Sprains & Strains, Fractures and Contusions with intact skin and Crush Injuries continue as the predominant injuries.

PURPOSE

  1. NDS-based data were examined to observe any trends in compensated injuries and disease over the reporting years 1992-1993 to 1999-2000, a time period that overlaps with the introduction into jurisdictions of the seven NOHSC priority standards, namely Manual Handling, Occupational Noise, Plant, Certification, Major Hazardous Facilities, Workplace Hazardous Substances, and Dangerous Goods.

METHODOLOGY

DATA ANALYSED

Scope

  1. An indicator of work-related injuries and disease are claims made under Commonwealth, State and Territory compensation Acts. Up until the 1999-2000 financial year claim data from each jurisdiction were supplied to NOHSC according to the data requirements set out in the National Data Set for Compensation-based Statistics (NDS) (1st edition).

  2. NDS based data covers all successful new workers' compensation claims made in respect of a fatality or a permanent disability or a temporary disability involving an absence from work of five working days or more. It should be noted that NDS-based statistics do not cover all occurrences of occupational injuries and diseases for the following reasons:




  • pre-2000 data for the Australian Capital Territory are unavailable;

  • temporary disability occupational injuries/diseases resulting in absences from work of less than one week (5 working days) are excluded;

  • only cases compensated under general Commonwealth, State and Territory workers' compensation legislation are included. Excluded, therefore, are occurrences covered under separate legislation for specific groups of workers;

  • military personnel within the defence forces are not included;

  • cases not claimed as workers' compensation because the injury did not first occur at work or was not acknowledged as being a work-related injury are excluded; and

  • most occupational injuries to the self-employed are excluded because such workers generally are not covered for workers' compensation. (NB: the exclusion of self-employed persons is likely to have a marked effect on data for industries where self-employed persons are common, for example, the construction industry in NSW).

  1. It is important to note that workers’ compensation claim numbers are influenced by a variety of factors including cultural, social and economic conditions as well as education initiatives, enforcement of regulations and incentives such as experience based premiums.

Jurisdiction & Time Series Analysis

  1. The time series analysis presented in this document overlaps in most cases with the introduction of each of the NOHSC priority standards into the jurisdictions.

  2. NDS based data from New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Commonwealth (Comcare, Australia Post and Telstra) were examined for the time period 1992-1993 to 1999-2000, inclusive.

  3. Due to the structure of the Victorian workers’ compensation scheme, Victorian data reported to NDS are not directly comparable with that of other jurisdictions. Victorian employers have been normally required to cover the costs of work related injuries that do not result in more than 10 days absence from work. Although required by legislation, employers may not always be compliant in reporting injuries resulting in 10 days or less absence from work to the Victorian Workcover. Consequently, these minor claims may be underreported. The legislation changed in the early 1990’s and since 1993 Victoria has provided data on the basis of cases involving more than 10 days absence from work. Therefore, Victorian data has been examined over the time period 1993-1994 to 1999-2000.

  4. The Australian Capital Territory has been excluded from the analysis as pre-2000 NDS based data are not available.

  5. Comparison of 1999-2000 data with previous annual data should be undertaken with caution as data for the reporting year 1999-2000 are preliminary data, that is, they are taken from an earlier stage of claims processing than data for previous shown in the tables and graphs presented in this document. Moreover, in analysing trends over time, careful consideration needs to be given to jurisdiction-specific legislation during the time period presented; some jurisdictions have published1 summaries of changes in legislation.

  6. Care is to be taken in analysing trends over time for each jurisdiction and between jurisdictions. For example, changes in legislation will have an effect on the number of accepted workers compensation claims. In addition, the different mix of industries and workforce characteristics can make direct comparisons between jurisdictions misleading. In this report NDS based data are unstandardised, that is, the mix of industries comprising the workforce in each jurisdiction has not been taken into account.

Industry

  1. NDS based data has been examined by jurisdiction and in some cases at the industry level in each jurisdiction. Industry refers to the industry of the establishment at which the worker was employed at the time of the injury. Industry is coded according to the classification system (ANZSIC) developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The ANZSIC industry divisions are:

    1. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing.

    2. Mining.

    3. Manufacturing.

    4. Electricity, Gas and Water Supply.

    5. Construction.

    6. Wholesale trade.

    7. Retail trade.

    8. Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants.

    9. Transport and Storage.

    10. Communication Services.

    11. Finance and Insurance.

    12. Property Business and Services.

    13. Government Administration and Defence.

    14. Education.

    15. Health and Community Services.

    16. Cultural and Recreational Services.

    17. Personal and Other Services.

  1. It should be noted that Western Australia and Comcare (Commonwealth) code at the enterprise level. The effect of this is that, organizations comprising more than one industry are placed under one category, for example, Telstra and Australia Post are categorized under Communication Services. All other jurisdictions code to the main activity of the establishment at which a worker is employed.

Type of Occurrence

  1. A work-related injury/disease or ‘description of occurrence’ described in a compensation claim form is coded against the NOHSC Type of Occurrence Classification System, (TOOCS) (1st edition). The four classifications used to describe the type of occurrence are:

  • Nature of injury/disease classification – refers to the most serious injury or disease sustained or suffered by the worker.

  • Bodily location of injury/disease classification – refers to the part of the body affected by the most serious injury or disease.

  • Mechanism of injury/disease classification – is the action, exposure or event which is the direct cause of the most serious injury or disease, ie, how exactly the injury or disease was sustained.

  • Agency classification – refers to the object, substance or circumstance that was principally involved in, or most closely associated with, the point at which things started to go wrong, and which ultimately led to the most serious injury or disease.

  1. The above classifications are reported in NDS-based data and form the basis of the search strategy adopted in this report. TOOCS codes cited in this report are defined at Appendix 1.

Search Strategy

  1. The search strategy took into account the objective of the standard and the scope and coverage of the NDS-based data. In some cases the search strategy is common to more than one standard, for example Dangerous Goods and Workplace Hazardous Substances, or may produce overlap in data, for example, Certification and Plant.

Incidence Rate

  1. To enable like-for-like comparison for the period 1992-1993 to 1999-2000 an incidence rate is calculated. The incidence is expressed as the rate per 1000 workers exposed to risk, calculated as follows:

Incidence rate = number of compensated cases x 1000

number of wage & salary earners

Denominator Data

  1. To calculate the incidence rate denominator data are necessary. Data on employed wage and salary earners obtained from the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) conducted by the ABS are used as the basis for the calculation of the number of wage and salary earners (denominators). The denominator data are matched as closely as possible to align with the scope of compensation Acts, for example, exclusion of self-employed. However, it should be noted that some compensation Acts do provide for the self-employed under certain circumstances and conditions. Commonwealth employees are excluded from the denominator data derived from the LFS, but are captured through the ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours.

Abbreviations

np - not available for separate publication due to confidentiality restrictions.

ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF DATA

  1. NDS-based data do not cover near-misses or dangerous occurrences, for example, explosions, spillages or releases of hazardous substances/dangerous goods, scaffolding collapses, mal-function of plant, where no death or injury has resulted. However, these occurrences are all indicators of unsafe workplaces or practices. More relevant data on the impact of a national standard in preventing hazardous situations and therefore, injury and disease, could be collected by site visits to select companies to access incident (accident) registers.

  2. Valuable information could be gained from the Premium Discount Scheme (PDS) recently introduced by NSW Workcover. The PDS works via approved Premium Discount Advisers who audit employers and verify that they have met certain benchmarks on OHS and injury management. Industry OHS assessment against positive performance indicators may also be a useful data source in the future.

  3. Another option could be to commission an ABS survey that measures the impact of a national standard.

FINDINGS

Findings from NDS-based data are presented in the following sections of the report:


Plant Section 1

Certification Section 2

Manual Handling Section 3

Noise induced hearing loss Section 4

Major Hazardous Facilities Section 5

Dangerous Goods/ Hazardous Substances Section 6


Section 1

CERTIFICATION

END OF FINANCIAL YEAR IN WHICH STANDARD ADOPTED BY JURISDICTION2:

1993 SA, NT.

1994 WA, ACT.

1995 NSW, VIC, QLD, TAS, CWLTH.


DATA – SCOPE AND COVERAGE

The NOHSC Certification standard sets the criteria for issuing OHS certificates of competency for users and operators of industrial equipment, namely: Scaffolding and Rigging, Crane and Hoist Operation, and Pressure Equipment Operation (eg boilers, steam turbines). NDS-based data were examined for trends in injuries/diseases involving these objects. It was not possible to extract data on Turbines, Boilers and Power Hoists as defined under the Certification Standard because the TOOCS coding system is not specific to these objects, for example, for Turbines the TOOCS code (161) also includes electric motors; Boilers (TOOCS Code 134) also includes, tar boilers and hot water cylinders; and Power Hoists (TOOCS Code 155) also includes hydraulic car hoists and cherry pickers. Furthermore, the calculated incidence rates (not shown) for these objects as defined by TOOCS gave very small values (<0.05) which would limit the reliability of this data. Therefore, the data presented are limited to Cranes (TOOCS Code 157 NB: this also includes tow trucks) and Scaffolding (TOOCS Code 496) in the Construction industry where these objects are most commonly encountered.

OBSERVATIONS

Nature & Mechanism of Injury

Cranes

In 1994-1995 for all jurisdictions combined (excluding Victoria and the ACT) there were 327 claims where the agency causing the most serious injury or disease was cranes. The mechanisms of injury, Being Hit by Moving Objects and Falls, Trips & Slips was identified in 47% (155) and 17% of these claims, respectively.


Of the Being Hit by Moving Objects , the nature of the injury comprised:


Fractures (35%);

Contusions with intact skin and Crush Injuries (31%);

Sprains & Strains of Joints & Adjacent Muscle (12%); and

Open Wounds (17%).

Of the Falls, Trips & Slips, the nature of the injury comprised:


Sprains & Strains of Joints & Adjacent Muscle (63%);

Contusions with intact skin and Crush Injuries (11%);

Fractures (9%); and

Open Wounds (3%).


In 1998-1999, Being Hit by Moving Objects was identified in 95 (42%)of claims (total crane claims is 227) and Falls, Trips & Slips was identified in 14% of claims.


Of the Being Hit by Moving Objects , the nature of the injury comprised:


Fractures (34%);

Contusions with intact skin and Crush Injuries (28%);

Open Wounds (15%);

Amputations (12%); and

Sprains & Strains of Joints & Adjacent Muscle (11%).


Of the Falls, Trips & Slips, the nature of the injury comprised:


Sprains & Strains of Joints & Adjacent Muscle (46%); and

Fractures (29%).

Scaffolding

For scaffolding, the mechanisms of injury, Falls, Trips & Slips of a Person and Being hit by falling objects was identified in 59% and 17% of claims, respectively (total scaffolding claims is 639), for the reporting year 1994-1995. Of the Falls, Trips & Slips, the nature of the injury comprised:


Sprains & Strains of Joints & Adjacent Muscle (40%);

Fractures (33%);

Contusions with intact skin and Crush Injuries (13%);

Dislocations (2%); and

Fracture of Vertebral Column (np).


Of the Being hit by falling objects, the nature of the injury comprised:


Fractures (38%);

Contusions with intact skin and Crush Injuries (22%);

Open Wounds (20%).

By comparison, in 1998-1999, the proportions of Falls, Trips & Slips of a Person and Being hit by falling objects is 51% and 10% of claims, respectively (total scaffolding claims is 421) which is similar in proportion to that observed in 1994-1995. In addition, the distribution of the nature of the injury has also remained constant in 1998-1999 - of the Falls, Trips & Slips, the nature of the injury comprised:


Sprains & Strains of Joints & Adjacent Muscle (45%);

Fractures (31%);

Contusions with intact skin and Crush Injuries (11%);

Fracture of Vertebral Column (3%); and

Dislocations (3%).


Of the Being hit by falling objects, the nature of the injury comprised:


Contusions with intact skin and Crush Injuries (32%);

Fractures (29%);

Open Wounds (26%).

Trend

Except for a downward trend in New South Wales for scaffolding, no discernible trend is observed over the period 1992-1993-1999-2000 (Figures 2.1 and 2.2) in the Construction industry for Cranes and Scaffolding.


% Change

Compared to 1992-1993, the percent change in the incidence rate of claims in 1999-2000 involving Cranes or Scaffolding, by Jurisdiction:


% Change*CranesScaffoldingNSW53%41%VIC21% inc15% incQLD13%84%WA29%35%SA>100% inc45%TAS51%(b)NT(a)70%CWLTH(a)(a)* Unless otherwise indicated, all changes are decreases.

(a) Not calculated because of zero incidence rates for most years.

(b) Data not available on number of scaffolding-related injuries for the period 1995-1996 to 1999-2000.









YYY2YYYY2YYYYY2YYYYYY2YYQldWASATasNTCwthACTALL

1 For example, Workers Compensation Statistics NSW 1998/1999 at www.workcover.nsw.gov.au; 1998/1999 Statistical Report at www.workcover.vic.gov.au.

2Year of adoption taken from NOHSC annual report (1990-1991 to 1996-1997).


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