From the magazine

VOC standards released for HDD operators

Under the occupational health and safety laws, employers have an obligation to ensure their staff have “÷current competency’; verification of competency (VOC), a way to measure existing skills an individual has and pinpoint where further training is needed.

Trenchless Advisor’s Peter Brown said since commencing his involvement in horizontal directional drilling (HDD) through Vermeer back in 1998, the training situation has remained the same.

“Either you received training on how to operate the HDD machine and equipment when purchased from a manufacturer, or it was taught on-site through the other drillers you worked with,” he said.

“This has always been a problem within the industry as some who are taught by an existing driller can pick up their bad work practices and the skill level problem can compound.”

Mr Brown says the answer to the skill problem shouldn’t just focus on training, but also on how skilled current drillers are.

Currently a driller can try for his or her Drilling Operations (including HDD) certificate II (assistant), III (Driller), IV (Drilling Supervisor).

These have been available for several years.

“These courses can be time consuming and expensive.

While they come with RCC documents – proof of existence – this may not include on-site assessment,” said Mr Brown.

The VOC compiled by Trenchless Advisor has been reviewed by Dial Before You Dig NSW/ACT (both Otre Moussa and Dominic Puiu) who have given their endorsement for the VOC.

HDD manufactures Vermeer Australia and Ditch Witch have also given their support for the VOC and can see the benefits with introducing this into the industry.

How does it work?

Once an applicant has been assessed, the assessment is sent to the ADITC who will audit it and if deemed successful, the driller will be issued a certificate and card.

These will identify the applicant, the size of machine they were assessed on, if they were deemed successful with operating a locating system and type, as well as if they are competent to mix correct drilling fluids.

This will then give a true and accurate indication into an individual’s skill level.

The people who will be assessing applicants will be qualified in HDD operations and certified as Trainers and Assessors.

Once a VOC assessment has been undertaken on an applicant their skill levels will be understood and additional training can then be discussed to up-skill this applicant to be a safer and more productive employee.

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