Card checks aren’t enough: New draft guidance on operator competence14 June 2013 by Will North
The UK Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group has launched a public consultation on a new guidance document, Management of Plant Operator Competence, produced in collaboration with the Construction Plant-hire Association. The guidance stresses managers need to do more than just check operators cards.
The Management of Plant Operator Competence project aims to clarify methods for employers to manage, develop and record employees' competences to operate plant. HSE and CITB are key participants, and a wide range of other organisations are involved. The guidance covers management of training and management of experience as well as management of competence. The use of an employee's portfolio of training and experience evidence is also covered.
The draft guidance explains the importance of managing operator competence, as part of a general safety policy. It stresses that merely checking cards is not enough, saying: "Many organisations see training and possession of a card as a proxy for competence; this is a dangerous assumption. It may indicate a general level of ability to operate plant but does not take into account the difficulty of the task, the complexity of the environment or the experience of the operator. These all have a bearing on the successful management of the task.
"This document is intended to provide good practice guidance on the management of the competence of plant operators, clarifying methods for employers to manage, develop and record their employee's competences and enabling them to meet their duties."
The public consultation is open until 19 July 2013. The draft document can be downloaded here.
Kevin Minton, the CPA director who has managed the development of this guidance and other documents on medical fitness, will be delivering a presentation on operator competence and fitness at Cranes Today UK 2013. The London conference, organised by Cranes Today in partnership with the CPA, takes place on 10-11 September 2013. Details of the event can be found here.