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Free Excavator VOC (Verification of Competency)

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Excavator VOC

Purpose of Document

Excavator VOCs are used to verify a worker’s competence in Excavator 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 Excavator 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

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

Who Should Use

Excavator 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 an excavator?

An excavator is a heavy construction machine with a digging bucket or arm mounted on a rotating platform, used for digging trenches, holes, and foundations, as well as for lifting and moving heavy materials.

What is an excavator used for?

An excavator is heavy machinery used primarily for digging, lifting, and moving materials in construction, mining, landscaping, and demolition projects. It typically features a bucket, boom, and cab mounted on a rotating platform, offering versatility in various applications like digging trenches, foundations, and landscaping tasks, as well as loading and lifting heavy materials.

What hazards are involved in excavator use?

Many hazards exist in excavator operation, for example:

  • Collapse/Tipping Over
  • Struck-By Accidents
  • Pinching/Crushing Injuries
  • Falls
  • Collapse of Trenches
  • 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 an excavator?

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 excavator operation, workers can complete the RTO unit

Did You Know?

Excavators are a versatile machine used for digging and moving earth, they have become an indispensable tool in construction and mining industries. The modern excavator was first introduced in the 19th century, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that hydraulic excavators gained popularity. These machines, with their powerful arms and buckets, revolutionized earthmoving capabilities.

In Australia, excavators are extensively used in various applications like building construction, infrastructure development, and mining projects. They play a crucial role in tasks such as digging foundations, trenches, and removing debris, speeding up construction processes and ensuring efficient resource extraction.

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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