The Aggregate and Quarry Association’s (AQA) chief executive Roger Parton has confirmed 60 per cent of quarry supervisors have recently failed the B grade oral exam.
Furthermore, those who have failed the test – now required in order to upgrade their Certificates of Competence (CoC) – are still working, with no quarries closed down since the 31 December, 2016 deadline.
“The candidates are spooked by the oral examination itself,” Parton said.
“I think in a lot of cases, they have the knowledge, it’s just a question of being able to express it. I understand that a lot of people who go back for a second attempt are fine.”
As previously reported by Quarry, the original deadline to upgrade the CoCs was 31 December, 2015, before being further extended to 31 December, 2016.
According to reports, a spokesperson for Worksafe New Zealand had told quarry supervisors their quarries would not be closed down immediately if a manager ‘missed their mark’, with Worksafe’s high hazards unit chief inspector Mark Pizey dismissing the suggestion that Worksafe was soft on compliance.
“If they are operating now, they will be operating under the conditions of what we call an improvement notice,” Pizey said.
“If you are not in the process, you will not be allowed to operate that quarry and you will need to appoint somebody who does have the certificate of competence,” he added.
The improvement notice will give quarry supervisors an additional three months to sit or re-sit the B grade exam.
Industry groups and Worksafe are due to meet in the coming weeks to discuss what measures can be taken to improve the exam rate in the near future.
In 2016, the IQA launched a web-based Professional Development Program and a suite of face-to-face workshops for NZ quarry professionals to meet compliance with the new requirements set out in the NZ Health and Safety Act 2015.
New Zealand quarry managers go back to the future
Quarry jobs at risk over OHS requirements
Quarry company fined over driver’s death
Quarry death intensifies calls for stronger regulation
No charges to be laid after quarry death