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May 2017 – Industry workshop highlights the importance of training

It’s a given in our industry that trained workers and safe work systems are vital to mitigate risk.

Order 34 requires NSW coal mine operators to have mine site training schemes in place to maintain a properly trained workforce. The Coal Services’ Order 34 team works with operators ensure their training schemes are compliant and are in fact being applied to provide a safe and efficient workplace.

Coal Services’ Order 34 team hosted an industry-wide training conference in December 2016. The conference brought together safety and training professionals to enable them understand legislative changes around training requirements and how to apply these to their site’s Training and Competence Management Scheme (TCMS).

Paul Healey, Order 34 Manager, emphasised ‘the TCMS needs to not only be updated in line with changes to legislation but should be customised to suit site specific risks and procedures. A good example of this is the implementation of new or modified equipment. The training needs to be planned as part of normal operations and not as a last minute addition when the equipment arrives on site.’

Did you know?

TCMS and training records play a critical role in WHS investigations

Tim Flowers, from the Department of Industry Regulatory Audit and Investigation Unit, spoke at the Industry Training Conference to explain the role of training in a WHS investigation following an incident.

‘It’s one thing for training programs to be in place and conducted regularly, but quite another when you consider how people take on information, how they remember it and how they interpret and act upon that information,’ he said. ‘You must provide training that ensures that competence is assessed and achieved.’

Training records are reviewed as evidence of the training undertaken, including how knowledge was tested and reinforced as well as task observations and review of the training.

In all investigations, human factors are an important component of the investigation. These include the environmental, organisational and job factors, along with human and individual characteristics, that influence behaviour at work in a way that can affect health and safety.

Mr Flowers stressed that this is often not a case of workers being at fault but a case of examining carefully all the organisational systems and the various human inputs leading to an incident.

‘From a training perspective we are talking about how people take on information, how they remember it and how they interpret and act upon that information to name just a few,’ he explained.

What you can do:

  • Make sure that the level of training is commensurate with the level of responsibility of the person
  • Ensure that training takes account of learning styles and human factors
  • Ensure all documents on notice boards, crib rooms and inside vehicles are up to date
  • Take the time to explain new notices and ensure all the relevant persons understand it

Read about Order 34

See the full presentation by Tim Flowers