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Free Backhoe VOC (Verification of Competency)

Download our free Backhoe VOC:

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Backhoe VOC

Purpose of Document

Backhoe VOCs are used to verify a worker’s competence in backhoe use. The primary goal is to protect workers from injury or illness through effective training and competency procedures. This form is broadly aligned with AS45001:2018.

How to Use

This backhoe VOC should be completed by a competent person in consultation with the trainee who will use the plant. This document is a template only and should be customised for your business.

When to Use

Backhoe VOCs should be completed prior to the worker operating plant or equipment within your business.

Who Should Use

Backhoe VOCs must be completed by someone who is familiar with operation of the piece of plant or equipment. This person should also be competent in training and assessment methods.

Legal Considerations

There is no specific legal requirement to complete a documented Verification of Competency (VOC). However, it is best practice, especially for larger companies. It can help meet general legal duties, including:

  • s(19)(3)c WHS Act – Duty to Provide Safe Systems of Work
  • s(19)(3)d WHS Act – Duty to Ensure Safe Use of Plant
  • s(19)(3)f WHS Act – Duty to Provide Adequate Information, Training, Instruction and Supervision
  • s(203) WHS Regulations – Management of Risks to Health and Safety (PCBUs with management or control of plant)

The Code of Practice “Managing risks of plant in the workplace” states that employers (PCBUs) must ensure workers are trained and have the appropriate skills to carry out a particular task safely.


What is a backhoe?

A backhoe is a versatile piece of heavy equipment used for digging, lifting, and transporting materials on construction sites. It consists of a front bucket for loading and a rear digging arm for excavation.

What is a backhoe used for?

A backhoe is a versatile piece of heavy equipment commonly used in construction, excavation, landscaping, and agriculture. It consists of a digging bucket on the end of an articulated arm, mounted on a tractor or similar vehicle.

What hazards are involved in backhoe use?

Many hazards exist in backhoe operation, for example:

  • Tipping over
  • Struck-by accidents
  • Pinching/crushing injuries
  • Falls
  • Electrocution
  • Collisions
  • Exposure to hazardous materials

To mitigate these hazards, proper training, adherence to safety protocols, regular equipment maintenance, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and thorough site inspections are essential.

Do you need a license to operate a backhoe?

Legally, you only require a license to operate “high-risk plant” (usually). For other types of plant or equipment, the level of training provided should be suitable considering “the nature of the work, the nature of the risks and the control measures required” – WHS regulations s(39). That is, for plant that poses no or minimal risks, there may be very little training required. As the risks of the plant increases, the requirement for training also increases.

To demonstrate competence in backhoe operation, workers can complete the RTO unit

Did You Know?

Backhoes are widely used in Australia for various applications? These versatile machines play a crucial role in the construction, excavation, and agricultural sectors across the country. Backhoes combine the functionality of a loader and an excavator, making them ideal for digging, trenching, and lifting heavy materials.

Their hydraulic-powered arms and buckets provide excellent reach and versatility for a wide range of tasks. In Australia, backhoes are commonly used for digging foundations, clearing land, and maintaining infrastructure. Their efficiency and maneuverability have significantly improved productivity in various industries throughout the country.

Article Sources and Further Reading

Model Code of Practice: Managing risks of plant in the workplace (Safe Work Australia) <>

Plant (Safe Work Australia) <>

What is a PCBU? (Spire Safety) <>

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