Since it was established 13 years ago the Elevated Working Platform Association of New Zealand has advocated for consistently high standards of training for operation, maintenance and certification of EWPs.
“Quality assured, unit standard based NZQA operator training is now widely available from a number of independent trainers throughout New Zealand, something that has been encouraged and endorsed by the Association,” says CEO, Phil Tindle.
He says training is also mandatory for anyone hiring out access equipment to ensure they provide fit-for-purpose machines to their customers, and provide the correct instruction and safety familiarisation of the machine to the operator.
“It is essential the people providing information to the customer are trained and competent themselves, as inadequate training or operational knowledge is one of the leading causes of accidents, along with not following manufacturers’ recommendations, and not fully assessing the hazards and risks of the equipment, the job and the work site.”
It is mandatory for operators to be competent, if they are being used in a place of work the employer must ensure the operator is competent. NZQA unit standards are proof of competency.
“Anyone north of an employee who is involved in providing guidance or information to operators must be qualified as well.”
During the development of the latest Best Practice Guidelines in 2013/14, WorkSafe consulted closely with industry, from manufacturers right down to end users to develop a suitable competency baseline, says Phil.
“The industry decided the development of one standard of competency, NZQA Unit Standards was the preference. We have essentially gone from having nothing in terms of a programme to developing an industry accepted standard for operator training, industry has embraced this which is great.”
He says this unit standard has become the baseline for operator competency.
“We’ve reached the point where the delivery of that training is an option nationwide, with opportunities for private training entities and industry training organisations to become involved in its delivery.”