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Changes to the training and assessment of chainsaw operators

SIM 01/2004/02

Summary

This guidance explains changes to the UK system for the training and assessment of chainsaw operators in forestry and arboriculture that were introduced in September 2012. The revised arrangements are outlined.

Qualifications/Certificate of Competence obtained prior to September 2012 are unaffected and remain valid.

Introduction

The Approved Code of Practice supporting regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98) sets a minimum standard for competence of people using chainsaws in treework.

Historically, these minimum standards were met by chainsaw operators obtaining Certificates of Competence issued by NPTC City & Guilds. Training was divided into units, with each unit relating to a particular task, and identified by a unit name and number (eg CS30.1 Chainsaw maintenance, where CS stands for chainsaw).

Changes to chainsaw training and assessment have been introduced as a result of changes to the Trees and Timber National Occupational Standards (NOS).  New units of assessment and qualifications have been developed (Level 2/Level 3 awards) (see Appendix 1). 

Action

If you propose any enforcement action on chainsaw training or have any concerns following the introduction of these new arrangements for ensuring competence please contact the OPSTD Agriculture and Waste Recycling Sector – Agricultural Safety Section for advice and support.

It is important to check that the qualification obtained (whether under the new or pre 2012 system) is relevant to the task being performed and how recently it was achieved to take a view of its validity.

Background

System of assessment 2003 – September 2012

Prior to the introduction of the revised qualifications a partnership arrangement existed between City and Guilds NPTC and Lantra Awards. This had been in place since the 1st September 2003. Under these arrangements the two organisations worked together under a “memorandum of understanding” whereby Lantra Awards provided training courses for chainsaw operators and NPTC City and Guilds provided independent assessment of that training. This independent assessment led to the awarding of an NPTC Certificate of Competence relating to the training that had been undertaken. These certificates of competence were referred to as CS units, for example CS 30.1 Chainsaw maintenance.

System of assessment since September 2012

Changes to chainsaw training and assessment have been introduced as a result of changes to the Trees and Timber National Occupational Standards (NOS). NOS describe what you know, understand and need to do to carry out particular tasks competently across a particular sector. Following a review and development of the new NOS for Treework by the Lantra Sector Skills Council (Lantra SSC), new units of assessment and qualifications have been developed. The revised qualifications are listed in Appendix 1. 

The revised Trees and Timber NOS better reflect the current requirements of learners and employers in the Trees and Timber Industry.

Awarding Organisations (AO’s) have used the Trees and Timber NOS to develop revised qualifications which are consistent with the Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF) recognised by the relevant qualifications and examinations regulators in Great Britain (GB)

Organisation of Qualification awarding bodies in GB

Individual Awarding Organisations (AOs), for example, City and Guilds NPTC and Lantra, have-developed Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF) units into awards (qualifications) which are based on industry standards and reflect the knowledge, skills and competence required. Only AOs recognised by the qualifications and examinations regulators can offer these qualifications. (See Appendix 2 for details of the Qualification and Examination regulators in GB) The content will be the same across all AOs offering the qualifications. 

These qualifications are identified and approved by the qualifications regulators and:

The standard setting body for these qualifications is the Lantra SSC which specifies the assessment requirements (such as an assessment strategy) or guidance specified by a sector or regulatory body that need to be implemented by the AOs offering these qualifications. Lantra SSC have produced guidance ‘A Rationale for the Assessment of Qualifications and Units in Forestry and Arboriculture’ to support these Qualifications. Lantra SSC has worked with industry and AOs to develop ‘assessment strategies’ to ensure that assessment, as well as the content of the revised qualifications is consistent across AOs. 

The actual level of assessment required for individual qualifications depends either on the level of risk inherent in the activity being undertaken or on the candidate proving competence by successfully achieving a pre-requisite qualification.

Those AOs offering chainsaw and aerial treework qualifications have jointly agreed which units are defined as:

The AOs are responsible for setting out their own assessment methods against the assessment strategy. Although the AOs have jointly agreed which units are subject to independent assessment and which are subject to integrated training and assessment, their interpretations of the terms independent assessment and integrated training and assessment within the overall assessment strategy differ.

Requirement for refresher training

There has been a long standing recommendation in the tree work industry for refresher/update training for chainsaw operators. INDG317 Chainsaws at work recommends that this training takes place every two to three years for occasional users and every five years for full time users. This can often be incorporated as part of training for more advanced skills. Employers need to record and plan for this training.

The Forestry Industry Safety Accord FISA is exploring refresher/update training regimes for the forestry industry. Any recommendations for change are likely to be in place by the end of 2013 and will be incorporated in future revisions of this guidance.

Refresher/update training is also likely to be available through the AOs.

Further references

For further information on the qualifications offered by:

Contacts

Inspectors who have any concerns or queries concerning the new system should contact OPSTD Agriculture and Waste Recycling Sector – Agricultural Safety Section.

Appendices

Appendix 1 - Treework Qualifications and Associated Assessment Methods

Chainsaw provision

NOS Reference Qualification Title Risk Level Assessment Method Old CS Unit ref
LANTw22 Level 2 Award in Cross-cut Timber Using a Chainsaw High Independent CS 30.2
LANTw19 & LANTw22 Level 2 Award in Chainsaw Maintenance and Cross-cutting High Independent CS 30.1
CS30.2
LANTw20 Level 2 Award in Felling and Processing Trees up to 380mm High Independent CS 31
LANTw21 Level 2 Award in Remove Branches and Breakdown Crowns Using an Chainsaw High Independent CS37
LANTw24 Level 3 Award in Severing Uprooted or Windblown Trees Using a Chainsaw High Independent CS 34 &
CS35
LANTw25 Level 3 Award in Assisted Fell Operations High Independent n/a
LANTw18 Level 3 Award in Emergency Treework Operations High Independent CS50
LANTw19 Level 2 Award in Chainsaw Maintenance Low Integrated Training & Assessment CS30.1
LANTw20 Level 3 Award in Felling and Processing Trees over 380mm Low Integrated Training & Assessment CS32
LANTw27 Level 2 Award in Supporting Colleagues Undertaking Off Ground Tree Related Operations Low Integrated Training & Assessment CS45
LANTw17 Level 3 Award in Preparing and Agreeing Emergency Treework Operations Low Integrated Training & Assessment N/A
LANTw26 Level 2 Award in Using a Powered Pole Pruner Low Integrated Training & Assessment CS48

Aerial Treework Provision

NOS Reference Qualification Title Risk Level Assessment Method Old CS unit ref
LANTw28 Level 2 Award in Accessing a Tree Using a Rope and Harness High Independent CS38.1
LANTw28 Level 3 Award in Aerial Tree Rescue Operations High Independent CS38.2
LANTw30 Level 3 Award in Aerial Cutting of Trees with a Chainsaw Using Free-fall Techniques High Independent CS39
LANTw31 Level 3 Award in Aerial Tree Rigging High Independent CS41
COSVR386; COSVR392; LANTw14; LANTw15; LANTw19; LANTw29;
LANTw30;
LANTw31
Level 3 Award in Using a Chainsaw from a Mobile Elevated Work Platform High Independent CS47
LANTw29 Level 3 Award in Aerial Tree Pruning  Low Integrated Training & Assessment CS40
LANTw32 Level 3 Award in Aerial Cutting of Trees Using a Crane Low Integrated Training & Assessment N/A
LANTw33 Level 3 Award in Installation and Maintenance of Structural Tree Supports Low Integrated Training & Assessment N/A
LEO30
SEMME3-197;
SEMME293
Level 4 Award in Thorough Examination of Arboricultural Lifting Equipment Low Integrated Training & Assessment N/A

Appendix 2 - Details of Qualification and examination regulators in GB

For further information see

Updated 2015-06-30