The Occupational health and safety act, act 85 of 1993 and regulations requires certain designations to be competent.
The 2014 Construction regulations defines a competent person as:
“Competent person” means a person who-
- Has in respect of the work or task to be performed the required knowledge, training and experience and where applicable qualifications, specific to that work or task: Provided that where appropriate qualifications and training are registered in terms of the provisions of the national qualification framework act, 2000 (Act No. 67 of 2000) those qualifications and that training must be regarded as the required qualification and training; and
- Is familiar with the act and with the applicable regulations made under the Act”
That beings said, I have noticed a trend in the safety industry. A very disturbing trend, a trend that gives employers a false sense of security.
The Competency of employees who undergo health and safety training
I have noticed on numerous occasions how short course training providers issue competency certificates to learners mere minutes after completing a course, and not only that, a course which is intended to run a full 8 hours, is cut down to 4 of which 2 hours are allocated to training and the other 2 hours to assisting delegates completing their portfolio of evidence.
Now to those not familiar with the process of issuing a competency certificate and my reason for concern, let me give you a crash course on the process.
A training provider will send out a facilitator to facilitate the course. Once the facilitator has completed the course, employees are given the opportunity to complete a portfolio of evidence as proof of their understanding of the subject matter. An assessor will evaluate the quality of the training process, the learners grasp of the subject and the learners PoE, when this is done it is submitted to the training provided to be moderated by an external moderator. The moderator will examine the entire process. Then it needs to go through a verification cycle. This step is compulsory as the entire process from facilitation, assessing and moderating is validated before the SOR [statement of results] are issued and a learner is declared competent or not yet competent.
The question arises, how competent an employee really is after sitting in a 4-hour training session? Considering the process that should be followed, and how soon you receive your certificates of competencies.
The question employers should ask is:
- Can you with confidence say that your employee is competent?
- Will your employee be able to act out the required competency in a situation that calls for his competency?
- Will the certificate of competency hold up when under scrutiny?
Make sure your training provider issues you with a competency certificate that is worth the paper it is written on, for your employees’ safety and for your own peace of mind.