The Share Economy

Collaborative consumption, the share economy, the peer economy, Hot Leasing whatever you want to call it this concept is driving smart business decisions.

The concept most simply means owners rent out their resources or assets that they’re not using. The best known example of this is Airbnb who have provided users with a platform to rent out their spare rooms, houses or apartments. Fast Company stated that Airbnb would “usurp the InterContinental Hotels Group and Hilton Worldwide as the world’s largest hotel chain — without owning a single hotel.”

Bringing this concept to the construction industry, CTC have purposely built, fully equipped training facilities that are available for short and long term hire. Our flexible, cost-effective packages means RTO’s can run modern training courses without huge capital outlay, reduce their environmental impact, while CTC assumes all capital risks and maintenance.

Watch our video to learn more about CTC’s Hot Leasing and what it could mean for your business –


Scaffolding In the Spotlight at CTC

IMGP2232A turnout of 62 people from numerous stakeholder groups attended CTC’s recent Safety Series Seminar on Wednesday, 26th August 2015.

This free seminar, as with previous seminars in the series, focused on a high risk activity, discussing the topic of scaffolding.

Two industry experts, Stuart Davis and Warren Reddicliffe gave their insight into scaffolding at the event.

The first presenter was Stuart Davis from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, who discussed the importance of safety when working with scaffolding, and how to maintain safety when on the job.

He talked about how scaffolding is a temporary structure and needed to be treated as such when working.

He mentioned that single elements are the biggest cause of fatalities in scaffolding, including:

  • Hop up brackets
  • Overlapped platforms
  • Insert type anchor ties

Stuart also talked about the use of harnesses in scaffolding. He emphasized that harnesses are not required if scaffolding is done progressively, but are required on hung scaffolding.  He also said that although the law states harnesses are not required, if a company policy indicates harness use, there is no issue.

Stuart made special mention of how anchor insert ties are being used too early in green concrete, resulting in poor retention of the anchor.

Stuart’s last topic was about why stair modules drop out. He stated there are a few reasons such as weld failure, stair modules not being square to the transom and fatigue to the steel. He announced that Workplace Health & Safety Queensland will issue an alert on the matter soon.

Stuart’s segment was followed by a talk from Warren Reddicliffe, who oversees all of the QuickAlly business and engineering. He is a leader in the industry for both product knowledge and industry regulation.

He revealed that there have been many improvements in scaffolding, including the use of robotic welding.

Warren discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using aluminium in scaffolding. He said that:

  • In 2014  30% of all scaffolding sold in Australia was aluminium
  • Aluminium is one-third weaker than steel
  • Aluminium is more efficient than steel
  • Aluminium is more beneficial to worker’s health and safety
  • A 3 metre standard in aluminium is 7 kg while steel is 16.5 kg, making aluminum much easier to work with
  • Aluminium is not recommended for demolition work
  • Mixing and matching of couplers is not recommended as steel is usually 48mm and aluminium is 50mm which could lead to crushing the tube
  • Aluminium does have some steel components, such as the end fittings, which can rust
  • Always check for wear
  • Check loadings for different size transoms and ledgers
  • Polypropylene platforms are a new addition and have a lifespan of about 10 years
  • Ignorance is no excuse in law should an investigation come about after an incident

“Our Safety Series Seminars this year have been a great success”, commented CTC Training Enterprise Manager Peter Walker.

“The scaffolding seminar is no exception and we look forward to offering more seminars in the series in the months ahead”, he added.

“We surveyed participants to gauge their preference for future topics, and we will take this on board to deliver seminars that are relevant and beneficial to industry”.

Visit Hot Leasing to learn about CTC’s state of the art high risk work licence and safety training facilities.

Nearly 100 People Attend CTC’s Safety Seminar

Nearly 100 people from various stakeholder groups attended CTC’s Safety Series Seminar on Wednesday, 27th May 2015.  The third in a series of safety seminars focusing on high risk activities, the topic this time was working at heights and rope access.

Falling from heights is the leading cause of death in the construction industry. It’s three times more common in construction than in any other industry, with 1.03 deaths per 100,000 workers. In addition to the high number of fatalities due to falls, each day, 21 workers lodged a workers’ compensation claim for a falls-related injury and required one or more weeks off work, across all industries Australia-wide, according to Safe Work Australia’s report Work related injuries and fatalities involving a fall from height, October 2013.

The Construction Training Centre CEO Phil Diver said it was for this reason that the Centre chose heights and rope access as the topic for their Safety Series Seminar.

Mick2Three industry experts spoke at the event.

The first presenter was Mick Rustichelli who is a Safety Supervisor with Visionstream and is also their national subject matter expert for high risk activities.  His expertise is with rope access work on telecommunications towers.  Seminar attendees appreciated Mick’s practical demonstration of a rope rescue.

Mick’s segment was followed by a talk from Chris Milne whose Sydney-based company Inov8 Access, specialises in height safety installation and specialised rigging services in the construction industry.  Chris is a board member of the Australian Rope Access Association (ARAA) – one of three associations that represent the interests of the heights and rope access industry.  The others are the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) and the Working at Heights Association (WAHA).

Chris spoke about how the rope access sector has matured in recent times – it’s one that has moved from being adventure-based to a strong and capable community servicing the needs of industries such as construction, telecommunications, mining, oil and gas and many more.

Rope access technicians are highly trained. The ARAA (which Chris represents) offers three levels of training –

Level 1: Basic descent rescue

The level 1 operator is the entry point for workers in the industry. Workers with this qualification may work under the supervision of a level 2 or level 3 ARAA operative depending on the specific site classification.  The level 1 worker shall be able to conduct works on a ‘basic’ site characterised by vertical works.

Level 2: Site SupervisorChris Milne

Following no less than 500 logged rope access hours, an operator may apply for a level 2 operator assessment.  Operators at the completion of a successful level 2 assessment may supervise workers on a ‘basic’ site and may also work under the supervision of a Level 3 Operator on an ‘Advanced’ site.  The level 2 operators skill extends beyond the level one vertical world and into the horizontal dimension. This skill is accompanied by appropriate rescue techniques and administrative controls for this work method.

Level 3:  Ability to do complex rescues in confined space, large towers, under structures

Following no less than 500 logged rope access hours as a level 2, an operator may apply for a level 3 assessment. Operatives at the completion of a successful level 3 assessment  may run projects including those on sites classified as ‘Advanced.’ This operative is versed in not only technical skills but additionally in administrative type controls and requirements for health and safety.  The Level 3 is currently the highest level operator assessed in ARAA and results in opening a worker to higher level skills in the vertical and horizontal planes, rescue and mechanical advantage.

He told the audience that the ability for rope access technicians to come to a worksite with very little gear, enabling them to move around a site more efficiently, has been an important development in the construction industry.

Chris said more work needs to be done with building design to accommodate anchorage systems.

The final speaker was Tom Martin who is Regional Manager with Capital Safety a major supplier of fall protection equipment in Australia.  Tom spoke about recent innovations in fall protection and rescue equipment that help keep workers safe at heights in various environments.Tom Martin

Some points to take away from the seminar …

  • It’s a sector of the industry where a little knowledge can be very dangerous.
  • Operators should undertake continuous and regular training including refresher training.
  • Workers must have access to quality training by a reputable provider (RTO).
  • Operators must have access to the right equipment for the job.
  • Safety is the key

Persons in charge of a business or undertaking (PCBU) have the right to check the quality of equipment and the skills of rope access technicians.  Some things to check include:

  • The physical condition of the equipment used by a rope access technician.
  • The equipment is tagged and within test date.
  • Appropriate preparation is completed including equipment checks and there is a pre-rigged rescue kit available.
  • A PCBU has the right to ask for the technician to review their rescue and retrieval process.
  • It is key to ensure the technician can demonstrate skills and abilities – not only on paper.

Resource documents will be available from the ARAA shortly.

Go to our YouTube channel to view the talks from Mick Ruschtelli and Chris Mile.  And here for the talk from Tom Martin and the panel discussion.

Visit Hot Leasing to learn about CTC’s start of the art high risk work licence and safety training facilities.

Hot Leasing 12 months on …

It’s now 12 months since the Minister launched Hot Leasing so we thought it was time to take a snapshot of how far Hot Leasing has come.

To date there are 30 approved Hot Leasing agreements with registered training organisations delivering high risk work licensing training in forklift, EWP, scaffolding, swing stage and asbestos removal as well as safety courses in work at heights, rope access and rescue and confined space.

As well as South East Queensland and wider Queensland, Hot Leasing has drawn RTOs from Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.  Some have even taken up residence at CTC as new tenants!

Usage has been cyclical, in keeping with industry trends.  Early on, EWP and asbestos removal were in high demand while more recently swing stage and heights training have kicked on.  Forklift has remained consistent. We have capacity to do more however.

Unfortunately we have not been able to secure the interest from industry to invest in dogging and rigging but talks continue with RTOs in that space.  The partnership with our tenant Lifting Skills to offer access to crane training remains strong but we could do more in this space.

Overall, Hot Leasing has been a success and continues to improve.  We are exceeding our breakeven point for the financial year and are ahead of our business plan usage level.

“As the only facility of its kind in Queensland and Australia, Hot Leasing represents a unique opportunity for RTOs to access state of the art training equipment and structures specifically designed for high risk work licensing and safety training, right in the centre of Brisbane”, Phil Diver, CEO of CTC said.

“That said, at times we have had to forge ahead with no other model for guidance. We are always open to suggestions about how we can improve on our model to make it easier to use and used more frequently”, he added.

Realising that industry is doing it tough at the moment we are looking at how we can respond.  We plan to send out a survey shortly seeking views. In the meantime we’re offering an of Financial Year Promotion, details of which you can read here.

Hot Leasing and RTOs…we think this is an unbeatable combination.

Terms & Conditions for EOFY Special Offers

These Terms & Conditions apply to the End of Financial Year special offers for Hot Leasing

  1. The “$175 a day until the end of the financial year” promotion means an existing Hot Leasing client is eligible for a 50% discount off the normal daily rate for their nominated Hot Leasing area.
  2. The “If you’re a new customer – the first hire is free” promotion means if you’re a new Hot Leasing customer, your first booking is free.
  3. The new customer deal is only available to RTO’s who have not previously entered into a Hot Leasing agreement, whether the facility has been used or not.
  4. Both promotions are only available for Hot Leasing training delivered during the months of May and June 2015.
  5. Bookings for both promotions must be confirmed and taken up in May or June 2015.
  6. In the case of the 50% discount deal, bookings must be paid in full before being taken up in May or June 2015.
  7. This is a limited time offer available for Hot Leasing use only.
  8. Not available with any other offer.
  9. No further discounts apply.
  10. Must be a registered Hot Leasing customer – i.e. must have signed a Hot Leasing Agreement.
  11. If you are not already a Hot Leasing customer, you will be required to sign a Hot Leasing Agreement before access will be allowed to the facility.
  12. On signing a Hot Leasing Agreement and prior to using the Hot Leasing area, the RTO and/or training and assessment staff will be required to undertake a site induction which takes about 45 minutes. RTOs will then be responsible for providing the site induction to their staff and students.
  13. For each and every booking, a Booking Request is required from the RTO to establish a booking in the Hot Leasing area. The Booking Request will include the RTO’s business details and contacts as well as such information as ABN; National RTO registration number; and licenses held by staff and/or contractors relevant to the training being undertaken. If the Request is accepted, a booking confirmation will be sent to the RTO. CTC, at its sole discretion, will determine whether an RTO can operate from the Hot Leasing facility. The RTO is not permitted to transfer or assign their booking to another RTO, person or entity.

CTC to host a free safety seminar about heights and rope access

Falling from heights is the leading cause of death in the construction industry. It’s three times more common in construction than in any other industry, with 1.03 deaths per 100,000 workers. In addition to the high number of fatalities due to falls, each day, 21 workers lodged a workers’ compensation claim for a falls-related injury and required one or more weeks off work, across all industries Australia-wide, according to Safe Work Australia’s report Work related injuries and fatalities involving a fall from height.

The Construction Training Centre CEO Phil Diver said it was for this reason that the Centre chose heights and rope access as the topic for their next Safety Series Seminar.

“We’ve hosted two seminars already which focused on the important issues of Swing Stage Safety and Elevated Work Platform Safety”, Phil said.

“Falling from heights is a huge risk with potentially devastating consequences, so it’s important that anyone involved in any working at height activity understands the dangers”.

“Seminar attendees will hear industry experts explain the dangers associated with rope access and heights work, hear about the latest advancements in height safety equipment and learn the critical steps an operator must take to reduce the likelihood of potentially deadly falls or equipment failure,” he added.

This event has been endorsed by the Working at Height Association, the peak industry body representing the interests of all those involved in providing products, services or advice relating to safe working at height.

Industry experts from the Working at Height Association (WAHA), the Australian Rope Access Association (ARAA) and RTO’s delivering training in heights and rope access will share their knowledge and lead a panel discussion at this free event.

Representatives from small and large construction companies, unions, government, industry organisations, equipment suppliers, entertainment venues and registered training organisations are expected to attend.

“The event is vital for business owners and contractors to understand their workplace health and safety obligations and to learn what to look out for when they engage heights and rope access technicians”.

“These seminars are free.  It’s how we give back to industry and attendees can see first-hand what CTC’s cutting edge Hot Leasing facilities have to offer in working at heights and other safety training”, Phil added.

The CTC Safety Series Seminar, which includes a light breakfast, will be held on Wednesday 27th May from 7:00am to 8:30am.

To register, click here or to find out more information, contact or phone on 3216 6711 before 22nd May.

To learn more about CTC’s Hot Leasing training facilities visit

First Ever Swing Stage Heights Rescue Course for Brisbane

IMG_0907aa resizedThe Construction Training Centre (CTC) will host a Swing Stage specific heights rescue course on Tuesday, 21st April in it’s Hot Leasing facility.  A first for Brisbane, it will be conducted by partnering RTO Capital Safety.  The course will run over one full day and cover topics such as setting up a releasable anchorage; lowering an injured casualty; safe use of type 1 devices and rigging of vertical lifelines.

Peter Walker, Training Enterprise Manager at CTC said the course was being provided to Hot Leasing clients free of charge as a service to the industry.

“With the introduction of the new Swing Stage user and installer courses in January 2015, there was a subtle change to the trainer/assessor requirements which now make it mandatory for trainers and assessors of these two courses (10358NAT and 10359NAT) to have recent relevant experience and knowledge in height rescue techniques”, Mr Walker said.

“With some Working at Heights courses not including any heights rescue content, there is a sizable gap in the training regime for some Swing Stage trainers and assessors.  This course will address that issue to a large extent”, he added.

CTC is no stranger to helping the construction industry develop cutting edge training solutions.  It introduced the first fully compliant, 24 hour access Swing Stage training facility in Queensland when it launched Hot Leasing in April 2014.   This was in response to the tragic loss of two lives on the Gold Coast in 2008 and subsequent recommendation for better training in Swing Stage use and installation.   This course is a natural extension of that service provision by CTC.

To find out more about CTC’s Swing Stage training facility or other specialist equipment and facilities available for High Risk work Licensing and safety training, visit the Hot Leasing website.

CTC Safety Series – EWP Safety

Fatalities caused by crush injuries and falls from elevation while operating an elevated work platform continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers.  For this reason, EWP Safety was the topic chosen for the second CTC Safety Series Seminar held in the Hot Leasing facility on Wednesday, 25th February 2015.

The Seminar was endorsed by the Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia Inc., the peak body responsible for ensuring high standards of equipment, safety and reliability around elevated work platform operations.  We thank them for their support.

Workplace Health & Safety Queensland and the Griffith University Institute for Educational Research also contributed to the discussion.  Industry experts who presented were –

  • Brad Geinitz, Principal Advisor (Construction), Queensland Construction Strategy Unit, Workplace Health & Safety Queensland;
  • Phil Middleton, Training Director, Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia Inc.
  • Dr Tim Mavin, Associate Professor, Griffith Institute for Educational Research

Following are the notes from Mr Middleton’s and Dr Mavin’s presentations.

Managing crush, wearing of harnesses in scissor lifts and compliance around VOC’s

By Phil Middleton, Training Director, Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia Inc.  

Managing Crush

Crush injury is a silent killer, catching the unaware operator with little or no warning. Operators often find themselves working at height in unfamiliar and changing environments and the likelihood of a crushing event can be a real and present danger to the complacent or untrained operator.

Commonly identified situations where crushing hazards are present are:

  • driving the EWP at height around or under structures
  • manoeuvring into or around a confined area
  • rough operation of controls
  • distraction while operating.

We could argue these hazards exist on every work site and operators are aware.  But the fact remains – operators have continued to fall victim to crush injuries. Awareness is only part of the solution and awareness is in fact the first step. There is no single solution to controlling crush hazards on all work sites.

While EWPs are very efficient at providing an elevated working platform, it’s the operating environment that creates the hazard and only sound knowledge and procedures for the operator will manage this issue.

Crushing is preventable when a collective, concerted effort is made by management, workers, manufacturers and regulators. An all-encompassing management strategy should not be centred on only one or two controls.

It is common to hear some sites are requiring secondary guarding being fitted to EWPs in an attempt to manage crush. What is uncommon, is hearing sites require a crush management strategy. Making secondary guarding a mandatory site requirement may help but it is definitely not the solution.

Let’s consider what could make up an effective crush management strategy!

CTC Hot Lease 03
Crushing injuries can occur when operators are caught unaware of potential hazards

Training is the grass roots of the strategy. For example

  • Does the operator have the appropriate licence or training?
  • Is crushing addressed within the training content?
  • If the operator is to demonstrate competence through a VoC assessment, does the assessment address crushing?
  • Is the site safety controller appropriately trained in the equipment being used?
  • Has the most suitable EWP been selected for the task?

Identifying the circumstances of how or when the likelihood of crush may occur and the planning of a rescue procedure is of the utmost importance.  Selecting the correct EWP for the task is vital and in a lot of cases the selection process is far too simplistic.

Commonly, selection is based upon electric vs diesel, 4wd vs 2wd, height and reach when in fact there are far more factors to consider such as platform size, capacity, boom deflection, over run when travelling, smooth controllability, physical dimensions, weight and drive functions.

Consideration must be given in the rescue plan to include the rescuer’s knowledge of how to reactivate controls.

Even the type of secondary guarding must be considered. The common types of guarding are physical barriers and pressure sensitive pads.

Physical barriers offer in most cases the best protection but have a large presence which may limit the operator’s ability to carry out work and in some cases create a crush situation.

Pressure sensitive pads remove the bulkiness but this type of device means the operator must be crushed between the sensors and the structure before it will activate.

Site safety officers, should have relevant training and possess the appropriate skills and knowledge to safely manage crush.

Finally the management of crushing sits firmly with the operator, to minimise the likelihood of a crushing injury, the operator must:

  • Remain vigilant when operating and not allow themselves to be distracted
  • The operator must stay wholly within the basket while the platform is being repositioned or the EWP is moving
  • Never place their body between a hand rail or physical barriers or structure
  • Never climb hand rails
  • Never lean or hunch over the control panel while operating
  • Where necessary, make use of a spotter to assist with guiding the operator.

To minimise the likelihood of crush the operators, must to be aware of how they will manage the risk of crush in their workplace.

Wearing Harnesses in Scissor Lifts

The issue of whether a fall-arrest system is advisable or indeed required, in scissor lifts has been a commonly asked question put to the EWPA office.  For example:

  • Should I be wearing a harness in a scissor lift?
  • The scissor lift I’m operating has harness anchorage points, does that mean I must wear a harness?
  • The site I’m working at requires the wearing of harnesses in scissor lifts, is this a legal requirement?

To clarify the use of the terminology, in the Australian standard for EWP’s, Clause 2550.10 identifies 2 types of height equipment that can be used to help control the risk of injury from catapult in boom type EWP’s. Fall arrest and fall restraint – out of these 2 systems, fall arrest has been the preferred system.

The fall arrest system consists of a full body harness, a lanyard and shock absorber with a maximum length no greater than 2 metres. Commonly the industry refers to both systems as harnesses. For this article “fall arrest system” is referred to as a harness.

The reason this issue continues to raise its head is because many scissor lifts feature anchorage points for the attachment of a lanyard. Safety officers see these anchorage points and believe the operator is required to wear a harness. This reasoning is given weight by these same managers understanding the need for fall arrest harnesses in boom type EWPs.

In a scissor lifts, under normal circumstances they have no identified hazard of being ejected because there is no catapult effect.

Remember, if an EWP of any type tips over, there is no harness that will save you.

Should a harness be worn while operating a scissor lift?

Hence, when being requested or considering whether or not a harness is to be worn in a scissor lift, one must identify what hazard the wearing of a harness is controlling.

To add to the confusion, and depending upon the manufacturer, some operator manuals recommend the wearing of a harness. However it does not state the type of system e.g. fall arrest or restraint or the type of harness such as full body or half and in most cases these manuals are not produced in line with the Australian Standards but with the country of origin.

The requirement of mandatory wearing of a harness when operating a boom type EWP means the EWP must be able to withstand the forces placed upon it when a fall is being arrested. This being the case, the Australian standard requires that the EWP undergoes a fall arrest overturning test. The overturning test determines if the EWP will remain upright, in the event of the occupants being ejected from the basket and swinging freely from the harness.

Operators of scissor type EWPs are not required to wear a fall arrest harness, because there is no identified risk of catapult like that identified with boom types.  There is no requirement as part of Australian design registration for the manufacturers to submit their scissor lifts to any tip-over testing.

Based upon the above reasoning, the EWPA DOES NOT support or recommend the wearing of a fall arrest system when operating a scissor type EWP unless there is an identified risk that can be appropriately controlled by the use of a fall arrest or restraint system and, in the event that a fall has been controlled by the system, the EWP will remain upright.

Verification of Competence

We are all aware of the emergence of Verification of Competencies (VoC’s) over past years.  It could be argued as to its place in industry and to whether or not it is the prime contractors demonstrating due diligence under the Act or are they simply following global company policy?

As we are all aware, and unlike other countries in the world, Australia would have some of the most stringent WHS laws surrounding operation of high risk plant in the workplace.

Having said that, is the very existence of the VoC assessment discrediting our national training frame work?

Does it mean operators, who have attained a HRW licence or have successfully completed Yellow Card training or any other national recognised training, require their competence to be regularly challenged?

The EWPA has remained silent on its position of VoC assessment because of the apparent lack of clear guidelines. The need for a VoC was unclear as to its function or relevance when placed alongside valid reliable training.

A person who has successfully undergone training and has been deemed competent should always be assumed to be competent unless through unsafe actions or the lapse of an extended period of time.

Historically the Association considers if there was any doubt to an operator’s competence, then they should undergo retraining.

In his search to establish how VoC’s fit into our industry, Mr Middleton needed to gather information and points of view from stakeholders. First he needed to clarify what WHS legislation[1] says about the use of VoC’s.

From previous research he was fairly confident that the Act and Regulation did not place a duty upon companies to assess competency of an operator on their work site. Whilst reading through both the Act and the Regulation Mr Middleton was looking for clear links to VoC’s.

His findings were as expected; the Act and Regulation do not mention a requirement or place a duty upon a company to assess competency of a person that has received appropriate training or holds a high risk licence.

What it clearly states under Section 19 of the Act is “the PCBU will provide relevant information, training, instruction and supervision to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out”.

Operators are faced with a variety of EWP Control Panels.

Regulation 39 states the same but covers more on the type, suitability and relevance of information, training and instruction.

Even though the Act was silent on VoC’s, perhaps it could be found in a code of practice. Unfortunately EWP’s do not have their own code of practice; however there is a code of practice entitled: ‘Moving plant on construction sites’.

Under section 3.3: Controls for the safe operation of plant it states: ‘A system should be adopted to verify that personnel, who are required to hold a certificate of competency, hold a valid certificate and are authorised to use the plant.’

To summarise Mr Middleton’s findings, so far the Act and Regulation do not place a duty upon a company to assess competency of operators that hold high risk work licences or a certificate of competence.

However there is a duty placed upon the company to verify that their licence is valid and relevant to operate the plant they are using.

Even though Mr Middleton felt confident about is legislative findings, he thought he should validate them.  So he approached two regulators asking them to give him some reference that he could use as support to the VoC assessment process. Both were at a loss to be able to concisely reference the requirement of a VoC assessment.

However both agreed any process that could potentially identify or assist in managing risk has merit.

For those who have worked with any of the regulators will understand they are very guarded about making statements unless it’s quoting a creditable document.

Mr Middleton received the following “unofficial draft comment” from one of the regulators in response to the question “what is VoC’s purpose in the workplace”.

VoC’s could work within an organisation, providing that competency was assessed by a competent person, supported with prior qualifications; years of operator experience etc. and applied to certain roles and operations within the group.

VOC’s should not have any portability unless they are used by an RTO, with trained assessors, based on training packages/elements of competency which have been demonstrated or assessed.’

As the VoC assessment process is not driven by legislation, it must be driven by industry. Mr Middleton sought feedback from two large companies; the first response was a statement from a HSE manager from a large principle contractor who said:

‘A large number of companies require some form of verification of competency for plant operators, both where a certificate of competency is issued or not. My experience has been the Principle Contractor obtains some form of verification and does not rely solely on the certificate or training record.’

Seeking an opinion from a different prospective, Mr Middleton put the question to a large company that provides services to principle contractors. The response was this;

‘As they conduct regular training and have a retraining program in place and they keep up to date records of an operator’s qualifications and currency; and even though the company can provide evidence of competence and currency, their employees are still required to undergo VoC to enter a site. What’s more annoying is at the next site they enter, they require the same VoC again.’

They believe that VoC’s not being recognised between different work sites is a waste of time, resources and money.CTC Hot Lease 04

To cover all aspects, Mr Middleton contacted a specialist law firm to check if were there any points of law that places a responsibility upon a company to use a VoC assessment program?

The answer from a legal perspective was that a company as the person conducting a business or undertaking has a primary duty under the Act to ensure so as far as reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking.

Whilst the Act does not specifically talk about assessing an operator’s competence, in a lawyer’s eyes the words ‘so far as reasonably practicable’, ring loud in their ears. By using a VoC assessment process, they can provide evidence of reasonably practicable and this returns the responsibility back on the operator.

It was also made clear that if a company did not use a VoC process, it would not mean an automatic loss in court. A VoC was a tool to strengthen a defence.

To conclude, there is no legislative requirement to support the VoC process. It appears to be industry driven and has the support of the regulators. From a legal perspective, it is a tool used to strengthen a defence by turning the responsibility back on the operator.

[1] Refers to Work Health & Safety Act 2011 (NSW)


Applying lessons learned from other workplace environments to improve situational awareness of operators

By Dr Tim Mavin, Associate Professor, Griffith Institute for Educational Research

Lessons learned from other workplace environments can be applicable to construction especially with reference to the safe operation of elevating work platforms. Key points to remember are:

  • There is a wide variability in the controls of EWPs. When this is the case there is a high degree of automaticity learnt by the operator. When in a stress situation, early learnt automaticity physical responses tend to be deployed. This may mean that a response on a piece of equipment/plant may be the wrong one.
  • The issue of variability of control panels creates risks. Perhaps counter-intuitively, the most complex and different control panels for operators poses less risk because the automatic response is to ‘stop’. This is because new cognitive processes need to be thought through to get the system to work. This can be explained in the grid below.

    Tim Mavins grid
    Variability of control panels may mean that a response on a piece of equipment/plant may be the wrong one
  • Complexity increases from both left to right and top to bottom. The two areas where extra caution needs to be applied is where control panels might look similar but incorporate different functions and where the function remains the same but the look is different.
  • In such circumstances times spent in familiarisation is essential, as is documentation of this. Audits have shown that where time has been devoted to familiarisation of different control panels (to build new and relevant automaticity) that this is recorded as an activity in only 50% of the time.
  • While technical expertise is important i.e. knowing the function of the panel, the operation of the machine etc., it is non-technical understanding that more often than not contributes to problems arising. Equipment failure is increasingly NOT responsible for incidents.
  • Situational awareness and team-work are two critical elements in safety in the workplace. Given that operators are seldom working alone, the interface with other team members is important e.g. with the spotter.
  • Kinetic melodies play a part in safety. If the team members are working in harmony there is likely to be greater safety. Where the kinetic melodies are not working together i.e. the kinetic melody of the spotter on the ground with the traffic controller is different to the melody between the spotter and the EWP operator then there is potential for an incident. In the same way as an orchestra working in unison creates great harmony but when the members of the orchestra work alone (e.g. when tuning their instruments before playing a piece) there is a discordant sound, so too kinetic melodies in the workplace need to be kept in mind when designing workflow and in tool-box talks and pre-starts to ensure that EWP or other high-risk plant is operated safely.


Give us your feedback on the EWP Safety Seminar

If you attended the CTC Safety Series Seminar on 25th February which focused on EWP Safety, we would love to receive your feedback.  Click on the link below to let us know what you thought, and how we might improve in the future.

Supported by the Elevating Work Platform of Australia. EWPA Logo

Forklift operators put to the test at CTC

Forklift drivers from across Australia were put to the test at the 2014 Forklift Championship held at The Construction Training Centre on November 28.

The government’s push to class forklift operation as High Risk Work has resulted in compliance checks by inspectors and increased assessment tools to obtain a forklift license.  The Australian Warehousing Association (AusWA) recognised this push and created the Forklift Championship with the focus on safety and hand-eye coordination and included a novelty event to keep everyone entertained.

CTC’s Hot Leasing facilities are a High Risk Work Licence and Safety training initiative which made it the perfect backdrop for this unique and exciting event. The Forklift Championship is a good fit for what we are trying to achieve at the centre and showcases the ongoing synergies with organisations involved in the High Risk Work licence industry.

The event attracted 17 competitors, both male and female, who were assessed against national standards for forklift operation.

The winners received a trophy and prize money and each finalist received a medallion.

If you want to test your forklift operational skills or put your workers to test next year, contact AusWA on .

For more information on the event and to find out who is the champion forklift operator for 2014, visit

Update from Burning Management

Our CEO, Phil Diver, is a keen blogger and tweeter.  In his most recent blog “We apologise for this momentary disruption” he talks about his loathing of the management term “disruptor” used when an organisation realigns its organisational goals and implements something radically different to get ahead of its opposition.  But now he realises he’s got on the bandwagon himself when CTC did something radically different that has changed/shifted the paradigm perhaps forever in the commercial leasing space.  Of course he’s referring to Hot Leasing.   Here’s an extract from his blog:

“We’ve created an area where, instead of taking out commercial leasing space to conduct your training (in high risk work licensing competencies such as heights, confined space, scaffolding etc.), you just pay as you use. Companies are not burdened with the cost of leases or the plant (capital cost) which would lie idle when not being used. Instead they pass the idling risk onto us and we manage that for them. We cherish their brand along the way to ensure that their customers associate their brand with each individual company delivering on each specific day.

As far as the customer is concerned that forklift or that elevated work platform belongs to ABC Training Ltd despite the fact that the following day most likely XYZ Ltd is using it. What do ABC care about that? We have created brand recognition for the duration it is needed and that is when the client/customer is interfacing with them. We call it our Big Brand Theory. The area we call Hot Leasing. It’s the commercial leasing equivalent of hot desking. Not very novel you may conjecture…well funnily enough we are the first to do it. We are therefore taking first to market advantage.”

Read the full blog here:  We apologise for this momentary disruption