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Free Reciprocating Saw VOC (Verification of Competency)

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Reciprocating Saw VOC

Purpose of Document

Reciprocating Saw VOCs are used to verify a worker’s competence in reciprocating saw 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 Reciprocating Saw 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

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

Who Should Use

Reciprocating Saw 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 reciprocating saw?

A reciprocating saw, also known as a sawzall or sabre saw, is a versatile power tool used for cutting a variety of materials such as wood, metal, plastic, and even masonry. It features a motorized blade that moves back and forth in a rapid, reciprocating motion, allowing for efficient cutting in tight or awkward spaces. Reciprocating saws are commonly used in construction, demolition, remodeling, and DIY projects for tasks such as cutting pipes, trimming branches, removing walls, and cutting through nails or screws. They come in corded and cordless models, offering different levels of power and portability for various applications.

What is a reciprocating saw used for?

A reciprocating saw, also known as a sawzall or sabre saw, is primarily used for making rough cuts in various materials such as wood, metal, plastic, and demolition work. It features a blade that moves back and forth in a straight line, allowing it to cut through materials quickly and efficiently. Reciprocating saws are commonly used in construction, remodeling, demolition, and DIY projects for tasks such as cutting through walls, pipes, branches, and metal studs, as well as removing old fixtures or materials. They are versatile tools suitable for a wide range of cutting applications, especially in tight or hard-to-reach spaces.

What hazards are involved in reciprocating saw use?

Many hazards exist in reciprocating saw operation, for example:

  • Contact with Blade
  • Struck-By Accidents
  • Electrocution
  • Kickback
  • Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
  • Noise Exposure
  • Eye Injuries

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 reciprocating saw?

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 reciprocating saw operation, workers can complete the RTO unit

Did You Know?

Reciprocating saws, also known as Sabre saws or Sawzalls, have a notable history in the world of construction and DIY. They were first invented in the early 1950s by a Milwaukee-based company, aiming to create a versatile power tool that could efficiently cut through a variety of materials. Since then, reciprocating saws have become indispensable for demolition, renovation, and general construction work, providing a quick and effective way to tackle a range of cutting tasks.

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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