Home Industry Insurance Unpacking VOC What Is Verification Of Competency And Why Does It Matter For Your Business

Unpacking VOC What Is Verification Of Competency And Why Does It Matter For Your Business

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A Verification of Competency (or VoC) is intended to be a simple and quick check of an individual’s ability to operate plant safely. It’s a ‘must have’ for reducing the likelihood of incidents and injuries arising from unsafe plant operation.

With this in mind, we spoke to Hayden Reed, Mobile Plant & Equipment Risk Engineer at Australia’s specialist insurer, NTI, to unpack why VoC matters for your business.

As a starting point, Reed says that while VoC assesses proficiency, and can help reduce operational costs, there’s no ‘one size fits all’.

“Each business needs to determine its own specific VoC requirements,” he said.

“Given the diversity of operations, equipment, sites, legislation and other circumstances, it’s important to tailor VoC requirements to the nature of business”.

SO, WHO NEEDS A VOC AND HOW IS IT DONE
All mobile plant operators should be verified as competent prior to commencing work.

“A VoC confirms operators’ stated experience and abilities via a documented skills and knowledge assessment,” said Reed.

“Typically, a site supervisor conducts a VoC, and while there is no single set of requirements for a VoC, it’s suggested they combine qualifications, experience, risk identification, plant knowledge and practical observation.”

“It’s recommended a formal process is designed for, and applied to, each item of plant. A VoC doesn’t need to be complex, but it should include any specific knowledge and skills that an operator requires to safely use the plant.”

HOW LONG DOES A VOC LAST
Reed says this is an important consideration when developing a VoC and should reflect the nature of your operations.

“A VoC could be valid for a specified time period, a specific site or project.”

“Similarly, when a machine is altered or changed in any way, the VoC process should be undertaken again to ensure operators understand its new parameters,” he said.

Reed adds, “a VoC might be suspended following an incident or investigation, until the operator is again deemed competent.”

CHECKLISTS AND CONSIDERATIONS
Below is a set of pre-requisites for both VoC applicants and verifiers as well as considerations to help make the process more efficient:

PRE-REQUISITE CHECKLIST FOR VOC APPLICANT
• Current licence or relevant unit of competency
• Logbooks or work diaries, work documents or other evidence of competency and experience
• Site induction or authorisation

PRE-REQUISITES CHECKLIST FOR VOC VERIFIER
• Relevant experience with the plant item in question (may work in tandem with Subject Matter Expert [SME] if required)
• Certificate IV in Training or other VoC qualification
• Site induction and typically site supervisor, trainer, or team leader

VOC CONSIDERATIONS
• Plant make and model: Not all equipment (even of the same type) is identical. There can be differences in controls, design, responsiveness, and performance characteristics
• Attachments: Some plant have various attachments or tools (e.g., excavator/auger, water cart/sprayers)
• Modifications: Has the equipment been altered? Changes could affect guards, visibility, weight, and technologies used
• Restrictions: Specific site or area of site, time restrictions
• Licensing and registration: Is work undertaken on roads? For any equipment operating on roads or public access areas, you must consider registration and the effects of public liability cover
• Risk categorisation of plant items: Different equipment may have different requirements e.g., for training and assessment

Whilst the above serves as a recommendation, it is not a definitive list of legal or regulatory requirements. To meet your individual obligations, seek independent advice to assess your circumstances.

Want to know more about Australia’s leader in mobile plant and equipment insurance?

Visit www.nti.com.au/yellowcover or book a free session with a Risk Expert at [email protected].

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