Changes to the training and assessment of chainsaw operators
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.
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).
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.
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:
- Confirm occupational competence and/or licence to practice
- Confirm the ability to meet licence to practice or other legal requirements made by the relevant sector, professional or industry.
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:
- high risk and subject to independent assessment
- low risk and subject to integrated training and assessment.
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.
For further information on the qualifications offered by:
Inspectors who have any concerns or queries concerning the new system should contact OPSTD Agriculture and Waste Recycling Sector – Agricultural Safety Section.
Appendix 1 - Treework Qualifications and Associated Assessment Methods
|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
|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 &
|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;
|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|
|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
- Ofqual, together with its partner regulators in Wales (Welsh Government) and Northern Ireland (CCEA), is responsible for regulation of the Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF).
- The Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) is responsible for the accreditation and regulation of qualifications in the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF).
- The QCF and SCQF are the current systems for recognising skills and qualifications. They do this by awarding credit for qualifications and units. The QCF/SCQF allows achievements to be recognised and recorded through the award of credits and qualifications.
For further information see