Scaffolding in New Zealand - Best Practice Guideline for
SECTION 8: TRAINING AND COMPETENCY
8.1 National certificates in scaffolding
The New Zealand Health and Safety in Employment Act requires employers to provide scaffolders with the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to allow them to work safely.
For scaffolding to be erected, altered and dismantled safely and efficiently, scaffolders should:
- Know the basic relevant rules of physics, mechanics and mathematics as they apply to scaffolding.
- Be able to read and understand suppliers' information, general site plans, design drawings and specifications for scaffolds. An ability to make simple calculations of dead load and live load is often needed for instance.
- Have a thorough knowledge of the scaffolding equipment being used.
- Have a thorough knowledge of the construction methods and design requirements associated with that equipment.
- Be able to identify common hazards at the worksite and be capable of taking effective precautions to control risks to health and safety arising from these hazards.
- Be competent to visually inspect scaffolding equipment for faults.
- Have the physical skills needed for scaffolding construction.
- Be competent in manual lifting techniques.
- Work safely and confidently at heights.
- Correctly use the various tools, ropes and gin wheels.
- Erect and dismantle scaffolding in the correct sequence.
In order to facilitate competency in the above knowledge and skills a series of national certificates based on unit standards has been set up. These are established and maintained by Opportunity - The Training Organisations, the responsible Industry Training Organisation, through its Scaffolding Rigging and Industrial Rope Industry Training Advisory Group. The qualifications are recognised by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and registered on the National Qualifications Framework.
The national certificates form the basis of a national training programme which combines industry and Polytechnic based training. Tai Poutini Polytechnic is recognised by the Tertiary Education Commission as the national provider of scaffolding training.
The national certificates are progressive, with lower level qualifications being pre requisites to the next level qualification. They are outlined below.
- The National Certificate in Scaffolding (Elementary) (Level 3) [NZQA reference 1352] recognises the skills of a first level scaffolder. The holder of the qualification is able to base out, erect, and dismantle straightforward proprietary and 'tube and fitting' scaffolding structures from given plans. The holder can also assure the compliance of the structures and move safely on them at height.
- The National Certificate in Intermediate Scaffolding (Level 4) [NZQA reference 1463] recognises the skills of a second level scaffolder. Holders of this qualification are able to plan, erect and dismantle complex scaffolding structures. The holder can also assure the compliance of the structures and lead a scaffolding team.
- The National Certificate in Scaffolding (Level 4) with strands in Advanced Scaffolding, and Suspended Scaffolding [NZQA reference 0110] recognises the skills and knowledge required to work as a specialist scaffolder. The term 'advanced' refers to the range of equipment used and the level of competence of the qualification holder. 'Suspended' refers to a specialised area of scaffolding work. Holders of this National Certificate with the Suspended Scaffolding strand are those whose work is in relation to cable supported scaffolds in their various configurations. Holders of this National Certificate with the Advanced Scaffolding strand are those whose work is in the planning and erection of tube and fitting scaffolds to meet the highest demands found in the scaffolding industry. This is the highest level qualification available in this industry.
Note that the industry intends to introduce separate advanced scaffolding and elementary scaffolding qualifications, with appropriate pre requisites, to replace the National Certificate in Scaffolding (Level 4) with strands in Advanced Scaffolding, and Suspended Scaffolding.
Certificates of competence for the different classes of scaffolding as outlined in the HSE regulations are awarded on the basis of holding the appropriate national qualification and having appropriate experience.
- Training of scaffolders (general).
- Recognition of prior learning for overseas qualifications.
- Pre employment scaffolding training programmes.
8.1.1 The training process
Training programmes are structured and include both modularised formal instruction and supervised practical work in the workplace. Skills' training is sequential from generic and less complex tasks, building towards more onerous and demanding skills. Trainees remain employed while training but complete block courses as well as learning with supervisors and accessing expertise from tutors in the work place. Experience is logged and the learning that takes place in practical contexts is reflected on and utilised as part of the training process.
Trainees engaged in the erection, alteration or dismantling of scaffolding must be directly supervised by a scaffolder holding the appropriate class of certificate for that scaffold type. The supervising scaffolder is responsible for monitoring the work and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and recommended practice. He/she must be in a position to take immediate charge in the event of an emergency. Safety is paramount.
The appropriate ratio between certificated scaffolders and trainee scaffolders in a gang depends on the level of experience and competence gained by each trainee, the complexity of the scaffolding work being undertaken and the risks associated with any mistakes that may be made by trainees. The ratio should be determined by the employer through consultation with the supervising scaffolder, taking into account any requirements of the regulatory authority. The supervising scaffolder will be carrying out the employer's legal obligation to supervise trainee scaffolders to perform the work safely and without risk to health and safety. It is recommended that only one trainee be under direct supervision in a work crew.
It is expected that the elementary, first level, qualification will take 18 months to two years to complete and subsequent qualifications 12 - 18 months each.
8.2 Certificates of competence
The Health and Safety in Employment Regulations require that anyone who erects, alters, repairs or dismantles any scaffold from which a person could risk a fall of 5 metres or more, holds the appropriate class of certificate of competence for that type of scaffold.
Certificates of competence are issued by Opportunity - The Training Organisation under delegated authority from the Department of Labour. To be issued with a certificate of competence individuals need to provide evidence of:
- Training to national certificate level or an equivalent international qualification; and
- Recent relevant industry experience; or
- Holding a current certificate of competence requiring renewal and meeting the requirements of regulations 31 and 35 of the HSE Regulations 1995. On going certification requires continued involvement in the industry and proof of continued competence.
Table 14 shows the relationship between qualifications and certificates of competence as it exists in the current regulatory and qualification environment.
|Qualification||Corresponding certificate of competence class / endorsement|
|A. Fall arrest systems|
|B. Free standing modular scaffold systems|
|C. Gin wheels|
|E. Static lines|
|O. Tube and coupler scaffolding|
|C. Barrow ramp|
|F. Catch net|
|G. Hoist (load not exceeding 250 kilograms)|
|J. Mast climbers|
|L. Scaffolding associated with perimeter safety screens or shutters|
|N. Spurred scaffolding|
|A. Boatswains chair - hand held or mechanical|
|B. Swinging stage - hand held or mechanical|
|D. Bracket scaffolding for tank and formwork|
|E. Cantilevered scaffolding|
|H. Hung scaffolding - including chain and wire rope|
|I. Loading platforms cantilevered from scaffolding|
|K. Safety nets for public protection|
Please note that the Department of Labour or its authorised issuing agency, in this case Opportunity - The Training Organisation, may apply additional factors in relation to the award of a Certificate of Competence at their discretion. This could include aspects of experience, commitment to on going training, involvement in professional or trade bodies, etc. For these details refer to http://www.opportunitytraining.org.nz.