New resources to increase pass rate
An urgent meeting in February between the Aggregate and Quarry Association of New Zealand (AQA), Institute of Quarrying New Zealand (IOQNZ) and chief inspector (extractives) at WorkSafe New Zealand Mark Pizey has resulted in a series of initiatives that aim to help increase the pass rates of Certificate of Compliance B Grade oral examinations.
AQA chair Brian Roche says that the very high level of failure rates – of around 60 percent – and the emerging consequences for quarry operations are a major concern for the industry.
WorkSafe is issuing improvement notices, which give managers up to three months to sit, or re-sit, the B grade exam.
An AQA summary indicates it was generally agreed at the meeting in February that the causes of failure are complex.
Roche says that preparing candidates is a key focus and AQA and IOQNZ are working together to compile a library of questions to be used for preparation purposes by trainers, employers and candidates as well as arranging mock oral examinations opportunities so candidates enter an oral exam room knowing what to expect.
He says that the organisations have also asked WorkSafe to clarify if certain resources are permitted to be taken into the examination to be used as reference material.
“Mismatches identified between the questions asked in oral exams and the content of training received by the candidates need to be addressed so training provides the correct and complete information for candidates to pass the oral exam,” he says.
“A request had been made to WorkSafe for moderation of the panel conducting the oral examinations, to ensure consistency and uniformity.”
He says that the organisations hope to increase the pass rates through the initiatives and generally assist candidates, many of whom have been working in the industry for many years but are not familiar with sitting academic examinations.
As part of the discussions between the parties Roche says that WorkSafe is undertaking a series of regional forums which will be specifically focused on COCs.
The workshops, which kicked off on April 6 in Gisborne, offer those working in the quarry sector a valuable opportunity to ask questions in a casual hands-on environment.
The workshop series schedule will be posted on the AQA and MinEx websites for reference.
The organisations are also mooting the possibility of a site specific Certificate of Compliance for very small operators.
“This is seen as potentially providing a more targeted solution aside from A and B Grade certifications as there are people working in the industry at smaller sites,” explains Roche.
“They will generally have a good level of competence at their site and a high level certificate of compliance was not seen as necessary.
“A site specific COC was seen as trying to acknowledge the realities of the industry.”