New safety system in resources sector an Australian-first

In an Australian-first, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) has introduced a new system to improve workplace safety in the resources sector and ensure workers have the necessary experience, skills and competency to safely complete work tasks.

Launched last week by the Western Australian Mines and Petroleum Minister, the Hon. Bill Johnston MLA, the Verisafe Verification of Competency (VoC) Framework delivers an agreed and consistent process for companies to fulfil their duty of care by ensuring workers are adequately qualified.

CME Chief Executive Paul Everingham said while various training programs and the introduction of the High Risk Work Licence (HRWL) go some way to providing relevant skills and knowledge, they do not provide the industry with confidence that individuals possess the necessary requirements to actually work at the assessed level.

“Verisafe is an Australian-first and has been in development for some time, with members and stakeholders committing significant resources to develop a whole of resources sector approach to focus on improving safety and providing certainty for contractors and workers in the sector. Founding partners include Alcoa, BHP, Chevron, Rio Tinto, Shell and Woodside,” he said.

“It was created with the primary purpose of enhancing safety specifically amongst individuals that undertake High Risk Work by improving the level of competency amongst licence holders through an agreed Verification of Competency Framework.

“Verisafe also delivers benefit to contractors and workers in the industry by removing duplication and increasing certainty for stakeholders while delivering a robust system for site operators.

“In addition, Verisafe addresses the issue of mobility in the resources sector. Many contractors and individuals face delays mobilizing to sites by being required to undertake multiple VoC’s as they undertake work across multiple sites.

“Add to this the lack of consistency amongst VoC processes which inhibit the ability to allocate time and plan accordingly. Verisafe’s database enables contractors to share an individual’s VoC with a member and have it recognised as part of the mobilisation process.”

Mr Everingham said Verisafe was administered by CME and operated under a cost recovery model to ensure the focus remained on delivering safety and not a commercial entity.