We are creating a new training program and need some clarification on when a verification of competency (VOC) should be completed. The program will involve an induction and on-the-job training. We are hoping to have VOCs created for tractor operation, side-by-side utilities, horse-riding and cattle-handling. Is there an agreed industry timeframe for when VOCs should be completed? Must it be before undertaking the work?
There is no legal requirement for VOCs to be completed. However, under the work health and safety laws, a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) or an employer must ensure the health and safety of the workers and other persons at work so far as is reasonably practicable. The process of VOC enables employers to verify workers’ ability and competency to undertake their duties safely, and therefore assists employers in meeting their work health and safety obligations.
As such, it is important that the worker’s competency is verified prior to assigning any tasks and the worker commencing work onsite.
In the case of workers requiring a high-risk work licence, there are units of competency that support the issuing of the licence. In that case, the employer must check that the licence is valid. In the case of new workers, it is prudent to verify competency in the high-risk work to check that the holder of the licence actually has adequate experience.