You’ve just arrived at your job site. The next words that come out of the Site Foreman’s mouth are:-
Site Foreman: “Hang on a sec mate, where’s your VOC ”?
You: What do ya mean? I’m qualified buddy! Get out of my f&^king way, I’ve got work to do.
Site Foreman: Mate, unless you can show me that you have a current VOC (verification of competency) – then you’re not going anywhere but out the front gates!
You: Maybe you shouldn’t think so hard! I’ve got news for you – I’m gonna call the office – you have no bloody idea what you are talking about – so I’ll expect a big f&*king sorry from you mate!
Site Foreman: has a grin from ear to ear – he can’t wait to give you a gob full – knowing full well you will be the one to apologise!
You: thinking this guy is a total f&*k wit – and you and your ego are burning to give this knucklehead a spray for keeping you off site!
So how many times have you heard this “banter” going back and forwards? Too many I would suggest.
So, what are the rules with VOCs or Verification of Competencies?
AND are you actually competent and verified?
In short a VOC is an assessment that assists employers to meet OHS requirements and ensure that staff are STILL competent to operate equipment or perform a task.
Let’s break it down – you might have a qualification and you could very well have been driving machinery for 3, 5 or 20+ years, BUT and it’s a big one – that is the issue. Time does not translate into employers (companies) being confident that you are still able to drive the machine that you have been driving for years. So before you draw a breath and say that’s bullsh1t and that’s crap – like all areas of industry which change and improve, this is in fact very true.
So how often do you need your ‘ticket’s verified?
Some quick facts about VOCs:-
- Every three years – this can be site specific and can be less, so check;
- Changing employer can trigger an update your VOC;
- If you don’t have a current VOC for the specified piece of plant you’re required to operate, the majority of larger sites won’t let you enter; let alone do any work until you’ve provided one;
- It can be arranged for the verification to occur on site, provided access to suitable compliant plant and equipment is available;
- You must already hold a current high risk licence or plant ticket to qualify for a VOC;
- VOC’s (depending on equipment) can take a couple of hours;
- VOC’s range in price from the cheap and nasty $100 up to $350 – make sure the training organisation you use is reputable, as not all VOC’s issued are actually accepted on sites (there are a large number now not being accepted).
Don’t get caught not getting onto a site – keep your Verification of Competency (VOC or tickets) up to date and current – otherwise – your Site Foreman looking at you with that big grin is going to be some pain in your bum and can’t wait to hear your sorry!
For further info you can go Department of Jobs and Small Business, Officer of the Federal Safety Commissioner Fact Sheet on everything Verification of Competnecy for construciton workers.