As an accredited training provider, Barloworld Equipment's Operator Academy continues to offer an invaluable service to the mining and construction industry in ensuring that all machine operators hold Competency Certificates. However, Willie Haasbroek, head of the Operator Academy, says that in many cases contractors are still unclear about the Department of Labour's requirements regarding certification.
|"In terms of the Occupational Health and Safety legislation, all machine operators must hold a valid Certificate of Competency," explains Haasbroek, "which can only be issued by an accredited institution, like Barloworld Equipment. This requirement is not well understood and non-compliance remains common in the industry."
Haasbroek also urges contractors to ensure that when they do train operators they use a training provider which can prove that they are either registered with the Construction Education & Training Authority (CETA), Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) or Services Education Training Authority (Services SETA).
"There's also a misunderstanding about what defines a Competency Certificate. For example, when a machine is sold by Barloworld Equipment, the operator is issued with a Handover Certificate. However, this is not a Certificate of Competency, but simply confirmation of a one day familiarisation course on the specific unit.
|"Ideally, it would be great if we could produce 'instant operators', but that's not realistic. Depending on education and aptitude, the minimum timeframe for the training of an inexperienced operator from scratch on a specific machine is four weeks, and two weeks for an experienced operator. Only then will a Certificate of Competency be issued and the operator registered on the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) database.
"And this is just the beginning, as the certified operator grows his level of experience. We then recommend that experienced operators take our next course on Operator Tips and Techniques, which adds real value in improving machine productivity."
In addition to being able to claim training credits from Sector Education and Training Authorities, contractors putting their personnel through the Academy have the peace of mind that their operators are legally compliant in the event of an incident on site.
During 2009, Barloworld Equipment's Operator Academy will train approximately 600 operators, of which around 60% will be deployed in the mining sector.