Mobile and Heavy Duty Equipment Competency

Mobile Equipment Operator Competency

This Procedure section pertains to the following Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA):
Part 3 Division 3 Sections 115 General Duties of Employers

This procedure section pertains to the following OHS Regulation:
Part 16 Mobile Equipment

16.4 Competency of Operators
Mobile and Heavy Duty Equipment Competency

Preamble and OHS Policy Section Statement

Northern Lights College recognizes that the operation of mobile lift trucks (forklifts) and heavy equipment requires some expertise not associated with commonplace vehicles. There are also some inherent risks involved because of the sheer power of the equipment being operated. For this purpose Northern Lights College (NLC) will require that each operator be competent in the operation of each piece of equipment they are expected to operate.  Part of the Occupational Health and Safety Statement for NLC is that we as a college will meet or exceed the health and safety regulation and adopt best practices wherever possible. To this end the operational requirements in this document will be adopted as the only acceptable operating standard for mobile equipment owned and or operated by NLC staff or students.

Mobile Lift Truck Training Requirements 

There is leeway within the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) regarding forklift operator training and refresher recertification. Below is the excerpt from the OHSR:16.4

Competency of operators

(1) A person must not operate mobile equipment unless the person  

(a) has received adequate instruction in the safe use of the equipment, 

(b) has demonstrated to a qualified supervisor or instructor competency in operating the equipment,  

(c) if operating equipment with air brakes, has a valid air brake certificate or a driver's license with an air brake endorsement, or evidence of successful completion of a course of instruction on air brake systems by an organization acceptable to the Board, and 

(d) is familiar with the operating instructions for the equipment.

16.7 Standards

The design, fabrication, use, inspection and maintenance of mobile equipment must meet the requirements of the following applicable standard: (j) Lift Truck Operator training: CSA Standard B335-94, Industrial Lift Truck Operator Training.

The following is an excerpt from the applicable OHS Guideline:

      Lift truck operators do not need a certificate to confirm satisfactory performance and completion of the training mandated by section 16.7(j). The employer has several options for achieving compliance. Completing an external training course that effectively covers the specified standard, including the testing requirements, is one option to satisfy the Regulation. Another option is for the employer to provide in-house training and testing, to confirm the operator's knowledge and abilities meet the specified standard. Regardless of how the employer determines a person has achieved the training standard, the employer still has an obligation to provide sufficient supervision and control in the workplace to ensure lift truck operators meet the standard on an ongoing basis.
      The CSA standard stipulates a lift truck operator must take a refresher course at least every two years, or if there is an accident or incident attributable to operator error. The employer is responsible for assessing each lift truck operator's performance on an ongoing basis. Clause 7.1.2 of CSA Standard B335-94, regarding ongoing training and refresher courses, states: "Training courses shall be tailored to the individual's needs as demonstrated by an evaluation and assessment..."Refresher courses and retraining only need to cover the aspects of lift truck operation that the operator is considered to be deficient in relative to the performance criteria specified in section 16.7(j). If two years after the last refresher or upgrading course an operator is not considered by the employer to have any deficiencies relative to the performance criteria, the refresher course could simply be a general job safety review with the operator.
      Training is also required any time new equipment is to be used, performance issues become evident, or there are significant changes in the operator's job.
      The employer should keep sufficient records of lift truck operator training, testing, and assessment to document compliance with section 16.7(j).

To maintain our mandate of meeting or exceeding the OHSR all employees at NLC will be required to:
  • Demonstrate proof of competency be providing valid forklift operator certification upon initial hiring. If the new employee cannot produce valid certification then the employee will have to participate in a full course of instruction for forklift operators to meet the requirements of OHSR Section 16.7(j). No NLC employee will be permitted to operate a forklift without valid certification.
  • Every forklift operator will be required to at minimum attend a 4 hour refresher course to be re-certified every two years. This option is at both the discretion of the operator’s and operator’s supervisor. If either person believes the operator would benefit from a full course of instruction because of demonstrated competency or infrequency of forklift operation then the full course of instruction will be the only alternative.
  • If an operator experiences a prolonged period of absence from work exceeding 6 months then that operator will be required to complete a 4 hour refresher course prior to operating a forklift.
  • In the event of an incident or near miss where causation might have been the result of operator error the operator will have to be re-evaluated in a manner similar to initial certification. This evaluation will be performed by a NLC approved person such as a Workforce Industry Training forklift instructor.
  • Refresher training is also required any time new equipment is to be used, performance issues become evident, or there are significant changes in the operator's job.

All NLC forklift operators will observe industry standard safe operating procedures

Heavy Duty Equipment Operator Competency Requirements

According to Wikipedia, heavy equipment are heavy-duty vehicles, specially designed for executing construction Civil engineering tasks, most frequently, ones involving earth moving. They are also known as construction equipment, earth movers, heavy equipment or just plain equipment. Northern Lights College considers mobile industrial hydraulic machinery that is not considered a mobile lift truck, heavy equipment. Currently there is no de jure or de facto standard for the certification of a heavy duty equipment operator. There are several training programs available yet nothing is quoted within the OHSR or recognized or approved by WorkSafeBC. NLC will require all heavy equipment operators to pass a minimum skill evaluation prior to operating heavy equipment.  All persons operating heavy equipment will be re-evaluated every two years at minimum to ensure competency. In the event of an incident or near miss where causation might have been the result of operator error the operator will have to be re-evaluated in a manner similar to initial evaluation. If the employee does not meet the original evaluation standards then remedial training with a qualified operator must take place. This evaluation will be performed by a NLC approved person such as a Workforce Industry Training heavy equipment instructor. At minimum any skill evaluation will include the following points:  

Basic Principles of Operation

  • Safe start up checks
  • Shutdown and parking procedures
  • Safe practices for starting, stopping, and turning
  • Machine stability factors including items such as speed, cornering, load security, centre of gravity, and grade
  • Capacity ratings where applicable
  • Safe procedures for operating on different levels and grades
  • Forward and reverse operation and checks
  • Driving hazards such as slippery surfaces, restricted visibility (dirt, dust and snow), and exhaust emissions
  • Generic safety procedures in accordance with the manufacturer's operating manual

Working Operation

  • Engaging hydraulics and moving while initiating hydraulics
  • Working with hydraulics under load (moving dirt, snow etc)
  • Traveling or moving keeping the blade or forks at proper level (within 30-45cm of ground and maintaining forward visibility)
  • Moving or turning to visible sides (e.g. track hoe operation)
  • Neutralizing hydraulic attachments (booms, blades, etc) after shutdown

Operational Maintenance

  • Maintenance to be performed by the operator
  • Refueling principles
  • Reporting unsafe operating conditions of vehicles

-- Created June 2009 | Review Date June 2010-----