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Verification of competency guidelines for operators


This blog provides a general overview of what a Verification of Competency (VoC) is, when it should be used and how it should be undertaken, as well as further information to develop your process.

It identifies the key concepts and considerations. However, given the diversity of possible operations, equipment, sites, legislation and other circumstances, each business has to determine its own specific VoC requirements.

What is a VoC?

A Verification of Competency is intended to be a simple and quick check of an individual’s ability to operate plant safely. It is important for reducing the likelihood of incidents and injuries arising from unsafe plant operation. As it assesses proficiency, it can help reduce operational costs and improve your ability to meet deadlines.

Who needs a VoC?

All mobile plant operators should be verified as competent prior to commencing work. A VoC confirms operators’ stated experience and abilities via a documented skills and knowledge assessment.

How is a VoC done?

Typically, a site supervisor conducts VoCs. While there is no single set of requirements for a VoC, it is suggested that they combine qualifications, experience, risk identification, plant knowledge and practical observation.

It is recommended that a formal process is designed for, and applied to, each item of plant. A VoC need not be complex, however, it should include any specific knowledge and skills that an operator requires to safely use the plant.

How long does a VoC last?

This is an important consideration when developing a VoC and should reflect the nature of your operations. A VoC could be valid for a specified time period (e.g. 12 months) or only for a specific site or project.

Similarly, when a machine is altered or changed in any way, the VoC process should be undertaken again to ensure operators understand its new parameters.

Further, a VoC might be suspended following an incident or investigation, until the operator is again deemed competent.

Pre-requisites for VoC applicant

  • Current licence or relevant unit of competency.
  • Logbooks or work diaries, work documents or other evidence of competency and experience.
  • Site induction or authorisation.

 Pre-requisites for VoC verifier

  • Relevant experience with the plant item in question (may work in tandem with Subject Matter Expert [SME] if required).
  • Certificate IV in Training or other VoC qualification.
  • Site induction and typically site supervisor, trainer or team leader.

VoC considerations

  • Plant make and model: Not all equipment (even of the same type) is identical. There can be differences in controls, design, responsiveness, and performance characteristics.
  • Attachments: Some plant have various attachments or tools (e.g. excavator/auger, water cart/sprayers).
  • Modifications: Has the equipment been altered? Changes could affect guards, visibility, weight and technologies used.
  • Restrictions: Specific site or area of site, time restrictions.
  • Licensing and registration: Is work undertaken on roads? For any equipment operating on roads or public access areas, you must consider registration and the effects of public liability cover.
  • Risk categorisation of plant items: Different equipment may have different requirements e.g. for training and assessment.

This Form is a guide only and does not contain a definitive list of legal or regulatory requirements. To meet your legal obligations, you are required to seek independent advice to assess your circumstances.


  • Operators can prepare for a VoC assessment by reviewing relevant training materials, ensuring they are familiar with equipment manuals and safety guidelines, and staying updated on industry best practices. Practical experience and ongoing training are also important for readiness.

  • Failing to conduct regular VoC assessments can lead to increased risks of accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. It may also result in non-compliance with regulatory requirements, potentially leading to legal consequences or fines.

  • Yes, operators usually have the right to appeal or challenge assessment results if they believe there were errors in the process. Employers should have a clear and transparent appeals procedure in place.