are your staff competent

Are your Staff Competent?

The Health and Safety at Work Act requires that tasks on site be carried out by a competent person.
This seems simple enough but what exactly is a competent person, how do you know if all your staff
are competent to do their tasks, and how can you prove your staff are competent?

WorkSafe defines a Competent Person as the following:

Competent person- A person who has acquired through training, qualification, experience or a combination of these, the knowledge and skill enabling that person to correctly perform the required task.

There are differing levels of competence depending on the skill and experience required to perform
a task and the amount of risk and responsibility in the task. Let’s look at the levels of competency and how they may apply in your workplace.

Licensing/ Registration

Certain trades require ongoing licensing and registration to carry out restricted work such as
builders, plumbers, gas fitters, and electricians. You should be aware of the licencing/registration requirements of your staff and when it is due for renewal. There are serious legal and financial consequences for businesses and individuals who carry out restricted work without the relevant licensing. It can also be dangerous to those on site and to the customer as the work may not be completed to a safe standard.

Be aware that organisations such as Certified Builders and Master Builders are not registered licensing agencies. It is possible for a person to have a membership in these types of organisations without the licencing required to carry out restricted work.

Qualifications

Most licenced trades will require an underlying qualification but there are many unlicensed positions that also require qualification to be considered competent. Qualifications include certificates, diplomas and degrees. Qualifications should be issued by a registered training provider such as a polytechnic or industry training organisation.

There are some dodgy organisations offering unrecognised qualifications, so it is important to check where your staff gained their qualifications to ensure they are up to the required standard. Some international qualifications may be accepted in New Zealand but often, because of differences in standards and regulations, parts of the qualification may need to be redone locally.

If you are unsure if a staff member’s qualification is up to standard you can find out by contacting NZQA or the registered training organisation who administers that qualification in New Zealand.

Training

Most other tasks that don’t require licencing or qualifications can be acquired competency through
training. Training can take two forms, formal or informal.

Formal training is offered by training providers such as Site Safe (construction site skills and safety) and Red Cross (first aid), or by individual companies for training on specific tools such as Ramset for (powder actuated tools). Formal training usually expires after a certain length of time and needs to be repeated so it is important to keep good records and know when your staff are due for retraining.

Informal training takes place on site. This can take the form of inductions, toolbox talks, SOPs and one on one training. It is important to record this form of staff training so you have evidence that your staff are competent in the tasks they are performing. It is good practice to regularly go over informal training topics with staff so you know they are performing the tasks up to standard and to keep them up to date with any changes in equipment or procedures.

Keeping Track of It All

Keeping track of your staff’s competency can seem like a huge task but Nailed It Safety Solutions can help keep it simple and 100% in compliance with your Health and Safety responsibilities. We can assist you in the following areas, keeping your time free to focus on the job at hand.

  • Recording and updating training records for your staff.
  • Reminders when licensing or training is due for renewal.
  • Assess what levels of training and qualification your staff require for the tasks they perform.
  • Review staff training and qualifications to ensure it is all up to date and up to standard
  • Assist in arranging formal training with reputable training organisations.
  • Work with you to develop onsite training and SOPs for required tasks.

Let us keep your Health and Safety simple. Contact us to set up a meeting to discuss your health and safety needs with one of our experienced Health and Safety consultants.

Chris Brosnan

Chris Brosnan

Chris is the director of Nailed It Safety Solutions, a Christchurch-based Health and Safety company specialising in Residential Construction and Tourism. If you like any of his blog posts and want to catch up for a coffee then it’s a good bet he’s up for that.

The information contained in this article is of a general nature and should not be taken as advice. It reflects the opinions of the writer only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Nailed It Safety. Nailed It Safety Solutions Limited, its directors, and shareholders will not be held liable for the use or misuse of this information.

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