From 1 July 2011 it is no longer a requirement to hold a Certificate of Competency/High Risk Work Licence in order to operate a dragline, excavator or front-end loader (including front-end loader/backhoe or front-end loader of the skid-steer type) in the ACT.
This change does not affect the safety duties imposed under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 - it is still a requirement to ensure that persons operating this type of plant have been appropriately trained.
The information below is intended to assist persons to understand and comply with their obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 when work is to be performed in the ACT using a dragline, excavator or front-end loader (including a front-end loader/backhoe or a front-end loader of the skid-steer type), hereafter referred to as "loadshifting plant".
These changes do not affect the operation of forklift trucks or order-picking forklift trucks - these items of plant are not classed as "loadshifting plant".
The operation of a forklift truck or order-picking forklift truck is classed as "high risk work" under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. Click here for information about carrying out high risk work in the ACT.
Duty of Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU)
Section 19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) imposes a duty upon persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU). The person conducting a business or undertaking has a duty to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of:
The person conducting a business or undertaking also has a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of other persons is not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking.
Under Subsection 19(3), these duties include requiring a person conducting a business or undertaking to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable:
Section 18 of the Act identifies the things that a person must do in order to manage risk in relation to a safety duty that they have under the Act. This includes taking reasonably practicable steps to:
Section 18 of the Act identifies the matters that must be taken into account in working out what are reasonably practicable steps to take to eliminate or minimise a risk. These include (but are not limited to) the seriousness of the risk, and what the duty holder knows or ought reasonably to know about ways of eliminating or minimising the risk.
Click here to view or download a copy of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
Evaluating Existing Skills and Knowledge
Where work involving the operation of loadshifting plant is carried out as part of a business or undertaking, the persons conducting the business or undertaking (PCBU) must have safe systems of work in place. In other words, the systems of work must identify and address the risks associated with that work as required under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Click here for information about carrying out a risk assessment.
For each person who will be operating loadshifting plant, the PCBU must determine:
These requirements apply regardless of whether the person will be carrying out the work for the business or undertaking as an employee or under an alternative arrangement such as that of a sub-contractor.
If any additional information, instruction, training and/or supervision is required, the PCBU must ensure that this is provided. The PCBU must then re-evaluate that person's ability to safely carry out the work, to determine if further information, instruction, training and/or supervision is required.
This process must be repeated until the PCBU is satisfied that no further information, instruction, training or supervision is required in order for that person to be able to safely carry out the work that they are being directed to perform using the loadshifting plant.
In determining whether additional information, instruction, training and/or supervision is required, the PCBU must take reasonable steps to obtain any information that would be relevant to making this determination. This includes (but is not limited to):
For further information, refer to "Evidence of Training", below.
Requirements for Training
Loadshifting work which is carried out in the course of training is subject to the same safety duties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 as the operation of other types of plant.
Without limiting the safety duties imposed under Part 2 of the Act, the safety duties of the PCBU in relation to training in loadshifting work include ensuring that:
The supervisor must provide a level of supervision that is appropriate to the trainee's demonstrated ability to carry out work safely and competently, and that will allow the supervisor to take appropriate action if the trainee is carrying out work in an unsafe manner or if an emergency occurs.
The PCBU is expected to maintain records of training that are sufficiently detailed to show that the safety duties imposed under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 have been complied with. Such records should include details of the work activities carried out by the trainee and identify the trainee's supervisor for each session of training.
Evidence of Training
The PCBU must evaluate a person's present level of skill, knowledge and competency before it is possible to determine whether that person requires any additional information, instruction, training and/or supervision in order to be able to safely carry out their work.
The PCBU is expected to sight and record the details of any documents held by that person which indicate the nature and extent of their past training and experience in such work, where the information in that document is taken into account by the PCBU for the purpose of this evaluation.
In the case of work involving the operation or use of a dragline, excavator or front-end loader (including a front-end loader/backhoe or a front-end loader of the skid-steer type), the most commonly-held documents are:
If one or more of the above documents are presented, the PCBU should make enquiries with the issuing authority to ensure that the certificate, licence, permit or statement has not been suspended, cancelled or revoked, as this would indicate that the document does not correctly reflect the holder's competency to carry out such work.
If other documents are presented, the PCBU may need to make enquiries with the organisation that issued the document both to confirm its validity and to determine the nature and extent of the operator's past training which is reflected in the issue of the document (including the nature and extent of the evaulation of the document holder's skills and knowledge).
As noted in "Duty of Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU)" above, the PCBU must take reasonable steps to obtain any information that would be relevant to determining whether a person requires additional information, instruction, training and/or supervision in order to be able to carry out their work safely.
Consequently, the PCBU may need to make additional enquiries concerning the documents which have been presented as evidence of the nature and extent of a person's past training and experience.
For example, the PCBU might seek the views of other personnel on site who have knowledge and experience of the work to be performed and who are familiar with the type of document which has been presented. Other sources of relevant information might include industry organisations or professional bodies who represent persons working in industries where such work is performed.
The PCBU is expected to maintain records of the evaluation of the operator's past training and experience (including enquiries made and information obtained in the course of the evaluation) that are sufficiently detailed to show that the safety duties imposed under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 have been complied with.
Ongoing and Periodic Refresher Training
The systems of work in place must include appropriate processes to ensure that any need for further training is identified and addressed. For example, ongoing training may be required where the scope of the work performed is increased as the plant operator becomes more proficient, or refresher training may be required in the case of a previously-trained operator who has not carried out the work for some time.
Retraining may also be required in other circumstances, such as a change to the method of work and/or the environment in which the work is performed.
Where an aspect of the work itself has changed (whether the method, environment or other aspect), the risk assessment for the work should be reviewed and updated, to ensure that the risks associated with the work as it will now be performed have been properly identified and addressed.
This process should include determining the level of skill, knowledge and competency required in order to be able to safely carry out the work as it will now be performed.
The PCBU must then take the following steps in order to identify and provide any further training which is required.
Status of Existing Certificates of Competency
Where a person already holds a Certificate of Competency for the operation of a dragline, excavator or front-end loader (including a front-end loader/backhoe or a front-end loader of the skid-steer type), the certificate will still be regarded as valid provided that it has not been suspended, cancelled or revoked and has not yet expired.
Consequently, ACT National Certificates of Competency for the operation of loadshifting plant should continue to be recognised in any jurisdiction which has retained a certification requirement for the operation of such plant, provided that the certificate is still current and valid.
However, subsection 199(2) of the Work Safety Regulation 2009 states that the Director-General must not issue a Certificate of Competency under the repealed Occupational Health and Safety (Certification of Plant Users and Operators) Regulation 2000 after 30 June 2011.
As a result, existing ACT Certificates of Competency cannot be amended, nor are replacements able to be issued for certificates which have been lost or destroyed, after 30 June 2011.
Click here to check the expiry date of an ACT National Certificate of Competency.
If a National Certificate of Competency includes classes of work other than loadshifting plant operation, and the certificate is still current and valid, the certificate may be converted to an ACT High Risk Work Licence, but the certificate itself must be surrendered.
Applicants may request that the certificate be returned if it contains one or more loadshifting classes of work, but the certificate will be "clipped" (by cutting off one corner) to show that it has been replaced by a High Risk Work Licence.
Persons who may need to carry out loadshifting work in a jurisdiction which has retained a certification requirement for the operation of loadshifting plant should contact the workplace health and safety regulator in that State or Territory to determine whether a clipped certificate would be recognised in that jurisdiction, before applying for an ACT High Risk Work Licence.
Click here for further information about applying for an ACT High Risk Work Licence.