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Free Chainsaw VOC (Verification of Competency)

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Chainsaw VOC

Purpose of Document

Chainsaw VOCs are used to verify a worker’s competence in chainsaw 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 Chainsaw 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

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

Who Should Use

Chainsaw 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. Completing a thorough Verification of Competency 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 chainsaw?

A chainsaw is a portable, mechanical saw powered by a two-stroke engine, electricity, or a battery. It features a toothed chain that rotates around a guide bar, allowing for efficient cutting of wood and other materials. Chainsaws are commonly used in forestry, tree felling, logging, and tree surgery, as well as for cutting firewood and pruning branches. They come in various sizes and configurations, from small, handheld models for light tasks to larger, professional-grade saws for heavy-duty applications.

What is a chainsaw used for?

A chainsaw is primarily used for cutting and trimming trees and wood. It is commonly used in forestry, arboriculture, and landscaping for tasks such as felling trees, pruning branches, and cutting firewood. Additionally, chainsaws are also used in construction, demolition, and emergency response situations for cutting and removing wood or other materials.

What hazards are involved in chainsaw use?

Many hazards exist in Chainsaw operation, for example:

  • Contact with Chains
  • Thrown Objects
  • Kickback
  • Electrocution
  • Noise Exposure
  • Vibration
  • Fuel Spillage/Fire Hazard

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 training to operate a chainsaw?

In general, the level of training provided to workers must take into consideration “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 chainsaw operation, workers can complete the RTO unit

Did You Know?

Chain saws have a surprising connection to surgical tools of the past. Before they became a staple of the logging industry, chain saws were actually developed as a medical tool. In the late 18th century, two Scottish doctors, John Aitken and James Jeffray, experimented with a chain-like saw to perform surgical procedures, particularly amputations. These early chain saws were powered by hand and required a team of operators to make the cuts.

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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