• Stuart Keer-Keer
    We send our team on an assortment of training courses. Working at heights, elevated work platforms, confined space, asbestos surveying, first aid are examples.

    Some say you need to do it all again in 2 years. Some do not. Who decides if you need to do a refresher after two years. Is there any foundation in regulations or law or is it driven by the training provider.

    If a person has not driven a car in two years, do they have to do a refresher. If you get a degree or diploma do you need to do a refresher. How is the distinction made?
  • robyn moses
    interested in response to this, I understand forklift refresher training. But what about working at height we have two workers who are due to go to their 3rd refresher training since they were originally certified however we have made no changes to the roof where they are required to carry out normal work activities a couple of times a year.
  • Andrew
    Some occupations / tasks have stipulated Code or Regulation type expiry dates. As we know Forklifts = 3 years. For us, we reckon, in our risk environment, our people could do with a refresher, to bring matters back to front of mind, every 2 years. Hasno Regs have 5 years for Certified Handlers. 5 years is fine for us.

    In the absence of Code/Regulation it is for you to consider your risk and set your own time limits to ensure your people are trained and safe.

    It gets a bit complicated when you have training providers (Such as First Aid) put a two year limit on their training, but if you look at literature, such as the Australian Code they reckon 3 yeas is fine. So in this instance you adhere to the training provider standards

    Like most things its situation dependent and you need to make your own call - worksafe won't ping you if you can show you are managing a risk through training. The time limit will, broadly, become irrelevant because if they come to investigate a serious accident there will be more apparent factors/fault that led to the issue.
  • Michelle Dykstra
    You can often find a recommended refresher frequency on the NZQA document. These are easily found online. @Stuart Keer-Keer, if you have specific questions on recommended refresher frequencies, feel free to ask me.

    The catch is that refreshers are often quicker and cheaper to obtain than letting the training lapse completely and having to do the full course. There is often a months grace after expiry in which a refresher can still be obtained. The training providers can advise on the grace period available.

    For my record keeping I differentiate between three separate kinds of training records - "Training" for training which does not expire such as degree, diplomas etc, "Licences" for training which expires or requires refreshers and "SOPs", specific inhouse training also often requiring refreshers.
  • Stuart Oakey
    The General Risk & Workplace Management Regulations 2016 puts a Duty on a PCBU to provide information, supervision, training & instruction. From a competency assurance perspective, training refreshers at regular intervals are a good way to demonstrate that you are keeping your people up to date with the knowledge they require to implement the right hazard management practices as something may have changed since they last attended training.
  • Graham Neate
    The provision of information, supervision, training and instruction is an ongoing process. However I can't help but wonder if the 'required' refresher training time frames are commercially driven.........................just saying.
  • Jono Johnson
    believe me you are not the first one to think that Graham, and I doubt you'll be the last. Sometimes even as a so-called H&S "professional" I have a hard time reconciling how much training costs in some cases. Like anything though, I guess, there is a genuine need for external training providers and some of them do provide good value for money, yet on the other hand it seems to me that H&S training is purely a license for some people to print money.
    As an example though, for some of our competencies e.g. WAH, HARM & Confined Spaces, we are required by some clients to refresh our staff and if they are not current then they will not be allowed on site. On the other hand, some of our gantry crane operators have been trained to the US & certified but we don't refresh them because they don't move out of the workshop.
  • Brian Parker
    The issue is not so much about the training, its is about the employee's current competence. The Unit Standard on your NZQA Record of Learning is permanent and does not expire, but it only shows the Assessor considered you 'competent' at the time of the assessment. In many cases, and Forklift training is a clear example, you may be judged competent on a particular make and model of machine (e.g.: Nissan 35 LPG Counterweight fork truck) but operate something completely different in your workplace (e.g.: BT3000 electric reach truck). The Code of Practice makes it very clear that it is the employer's responsibility to ensure their operators are competent on the machine they are using. This means even though you send your staff to an external provider to get their forklift qualifications, you still have to provide internal training on your own machines. I really wonder how many do that?? The larger distribution centres certainly do but I suspect that would be about it.
    So back to the question of refresher training. I do not retrain our staff on forklifts as they were well training in the first place and are using them regularly. However I do re-assess their competence annually and also after any significant safety incident, or if they have not operated a forklift for more than 3 months. Other qualifications such as EWP, Rigging, and Crane Operations are handled the same. For Height Safe and 1st Aid, however, I do still use external trainers for refreshers as they are outside my scope of accreditation as a trainer.
    This, together with extensive record keeping, means I can always demonstrate our staff are currently competent at any time.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    The emphasis on refresher training overlooks some very important points. The intention is for people to be kept up to date and to remain competent, and training is only one of a number of possible inputs to competency.

    If we stepped back and comprehensively assessed the actual competency requirements for each task or activity, using learning and development frameworks such as Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning to develop meaningful competency criteria, we would be in a much better position to manage workplace competencies.

    At the moment, there's too much reliance on qualifications and certificates provided by third parties, with insufficient rigour in assessing the frameworks behind those qualifications.

    The methodology used by learning and development professionals would start by conducting a learning needs assessment, based on a set of competency criteria.

    It seems to me, especially in a day and age where every work activity must return appropriate value for the investment, that it would make sense on so many levels to reassess competency requirements and what is really needed.

    If we have a robust competency framework, we can develop meaningful assessments to determine competency and then use those assessments to verify ongoing competency. The assessment would itself provide a review of critical points, and if a person can demonstrate that they remain competent, why would you need to spend the time and effort of attending a training for something they already know? Just verify their competence and certify them for the next validity period. If they are unsuccessful in their assessment, you need to determine whether really don't know and need to re-sit training and assessment, or whether they just need practice or some kind of coaching.

    I personally find it appalling to send people back to so-called refresher that requires trainees to sit through the same full programme they have previously attended, as if they had not listened properly the first time. And making people repeat training for something they already know is likely to turn people off training as well, because 'refresher' training is rarely 'fresh', and if it was poorly designed and delivered the first time around, it is unlikely to be any better the next time.

    If we changed the focus from training (an input) to one of competency (the outcome) and managed competency from this perspective, we could save a lot of time, money and wear-and-tear on people.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    And it doesn't help that most NZQA unit standards and assessments are primarily designed to ensure people pass the assessment, often including elements that have little relevance for being able to actually do the work. NZQA needs a major overhaul.
  • Stuart Keer-Keer
    This sounds like a fine way to go. In the scenario where a person is using a skill on a regular basis and is competent how do you demonstrate that? A site will ask for the training card. If it has gone past the expiry date how do you get the site to understand they know what they can do.

    It would be good that instead of a refresher they sit an exam or practical. If they pass it give them another two or three years.
  • Jon Harper-Slade
    The time periods selected for 'refresher' training are arbitrary and certainly not connected to any evidence base I am familiar with (happy to be educated here if anyone can find anything).

    CHASNZ is currently working with the building and construction industry and the training sector (through our Training Advisory Group) to provide:

    -consistent cross recognition for foundational H&S safety training to remove some of the current barriers to site entry
    -training mapped to competency standards set by industry (ConstructSafe Frameworks)
  • Sheri Greenwell
    - this is the key challenge - to evaluate competency requirements and design suitable assessments to verify those. The assessments need to be designed by people who understand the intricacies of assessment (evaluation) as a key part of instructional design so we are actually assessing the competence we intend to assess and not muddying the waters.

    In addition, assessments need to be free of other motives that have the potential to distort the results. For example, if pass rate becomes a KPI, there is greater incentive to get the desired number of pass marks than to carry out meaningful assessments of competency (this is all too often the case with NZQA unit standards).

    Workplaces will also need to give more consideration to competencies of assessors who verify competencies - ie what knowledge, skills, experience and personality traits they will need to be effective in this role.

    This approach does face some near-term obstacles and challenges, but in the longer term it would really benefit organisations.
  • Aaron Marshall
    If you're able to regularly assess competence, then why do you need to do re-training?
    Also, just because someone has attended a course of instruction, doesn't mean that they're competent, it just means that they sat in a classroom for the required time and passed any test that was part of it (which is usually ridiculously simple).

    No commercial pilot ever has arbitrary re-training on how to fly an aircraft, but there are regular competency assessments.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    Exactly. So instead of focusing on refresher training, we should be focusing on finding better ways to assess meaningful competencies.
  • Jono Johnson
    @ Aaron & Sheri: Quite right IMO and in practice not hard to do so long as you have someone capable of administering that. Also, sometimes you don't have a choice but to do refresher training e.g. as part of a prequal (yes, I said the "P" word!) where the clients demand not only that your staff undergo refresher training but demand proof of it as well e.g. 1st aid refreshers, overhead crane refreshers etc.
  • Trinity Milham
    Whose to say it all needs to be NZQA? - get the unit standard, comply with re-licencing / re-cert criteria, fill the gaps with in house refreshers/ toolbox/ SOP reviews etc, if someone is struggling they require more frequent training and supervision (or becomes employment issue)
Add a Comment

Welcome to the Safeguard forum!

If you are interested in workplace health & safety in New Zealand, then this is the discussion forum for you.