As we continue expanding on our “Comprehensive Guide to Hoisting Safety,” we have arrived at a point where the discussion turns from “how” and “why” to ensure that we have a clear understanding of two terms: Competence and Control. The key to hoisting safety begins with and depends upon your entire team understanding precisely what these terms mean.
Let’s begin by explaining what competence is not.
- Competence is NOT education
- Competence is NOT possessing a hoisting license.
- Competence is NOT having experience.
While possessing a license and having education and experience play roles regarding competency, none of them, in and of themselves, constitute competency. This is why maintaining a hoisting license in Massachusetts requires continuing education along with experience.
Rather than use a dictionary definition of competency, it may be best to use an internationally recognized standard definition, that of the International Standards Organization.
Competence means being able to apply knowledge and skill to achieve intended results.
Being competent means having the knowledge and skill that you need and knowing how to apply it. Being competent means that you’re qualified to do the job.
The Massachusetts hoisting licensing laws are designed to provide a reasonable assurance that license holders are competent. Beyond that, it is the responsibility of management and supervision.
Using the ISO standard for competency, organizations of any kind, including those involved in the hoisting business, are expected to ensure competency by adhering to the following process.
- Each organization must further define competency within its own specific context.
- “What job-specific knowledge must be well understood by someone in this job?”
- “What manual, mental or interpersonal skills must an employee have to do this job well?”
- “What natural abilities or talents must someone possess to be effective in this job?”
- Each organization must provide a method for development of competency. This means providing specific “training or taking any other actions to achieve the necessary competence” as defined by the company.
- Each organization must provide a method for monitoring competency. This may include periodic assessment, testing, auditing, corrective action, and performance reviews.
- Each organization must ensure that all personnel are “aware of the relevance and importance of their activities and how they contribute to the achievement of the quality objectives.”
- Each organization must maintain records of training, education, experience, and skills.
Hoisting is inherently dangerous, making safety an absolute necessity. The measure of safety on any job will be directly affected by the competency, not only of the operator, but all others working in concert with the operator.
Control exists only when “all personnel involved in the lifting operation have their individual responsibilities clearly allocated.” There is no place for a SNAFU in the hoisting business. Everyone has a job to do, they know what that job is, and they are competent to do that specific job. They control the situation. The situation never controls them.
Control implies organization, structure, and flow. A structure includes hierarchy. Someone has to be in charge. The person in charge controls the actions of all other personnel, the lifting process, and, lest we forget, the safety of the operation.
Hoisting can never be viewed as amusement or mundane. The objective in any hoisting job is not “getting it done.” The objective is getting it done safely.”
Our training courses emphasize safety. They are designed to promote competency. We want to help you gain both the training and the competency you need to obtain a Massachusetts hoisting license – Take our Hoisting License classes for free!