Mower Training is not something that most mowing contractors or government agency put their staff through. However, it is generally expected that most industries will require training of staff to ensure that they operating in a consistent, safe, and efficient manner. Training if done effectively can improve the skill level of operators making them aware of their responsibilities and allowing them to better look after there own wellbeing. Why is it then that companies do no formalised training for commerical mowing?
What are my Work Health and Safety obligations for Ride on Mower Training?
Under the Work Health Safety Act 2011 an employer has an obligation to ensure that employees are trained for a task they are expected to undertake. Mowing is not a high-risk activity under the Act (like for example working at heights, or Operating an Elevated Work Platform) rather, it is implicitly expected that employees are trained to an appropriate standard and that their skills are maintained at an appropriate level. This implicit expectation is the reason people are required to undertake chainsaw training (for example) if they are required to use a chainsaw in the course of their employment. It became an industry standard that training at an appropriate level to the task be completed and an industry-standard that this training is ‘refreshed’ every 3 years. In the event that an employer fails to have their staff trained then the company can be liable for fines, and in the event of an incident, potentially liable for a breach of duty of care.
WHS regulators are aware of the risks that commercial mowing operators are exposed too. There has been a number of accidents in Australia in the last few years that can be attributable to a lack of mower training. Fortunately, to my knowledge, there have been no deaths. Many organisations have avoided responsibility for training their staff because there have been no training available. In the event of an incident, the Work Health and Safety regulator is bound to assess if your staff was appropriately trained for the task they are completing.
I do induction training – is that enough?
Induction Training is still necessary to ensure your staff have a good understanding of the various operational requirements and processes that you have in place. Our training typically will not replace this, but it will compliment it. The problem with relying solely on in house induction training is that in the event of an incident you will be expected to justify why your training is sufficent and that it adequately prepared them for the task they are asked to do. Thats a lot of work and a risk your organisation should not hold.
Why are Lemke Timber Training Doing this?
The ACT Government, one of the largest mowing organisations in Australia, approached us to design and deliver mower training on their behalf that meets their requirements from a Work Health and Safety perspective.
One of the other aims of the training structure the Government has implemented is to provide their employees, both new and existing, with the current industry best practice in using their mowers. By having a good training programme, they aim to increase efficiency of operation, reduce cost of maintenance, increase safety.
Further, the ACT government purchases mowers under lease agreements and they had identified an increase in downtime and costs associated with repairs. They wanted to improve the day to day maintenance and highlight the need for reporting damage from an insurance perspective.
We sought help and input from a variety of manufacturers including Toro, Husqvarna and Kubota to ensure that the content and structure meets the needs of the widest variety of organisations and people. Representatives from these organisations have completed the training and are extremely supportive of the structure and comprehensive nature of the course. We will be working with them to roll the training out across the East Coast of Australia over the next few years.
In 2019/2020 we have trained over 100 people and expect to train a further 100 people in the next 12 months.
What does the mower training cover?
The Mower Training have been split up to be completed are as follows:
AHCMOM203 – Operate Basic Machinery and Equipment
AHCMOM204 – Undertake Operational Maintenance of Machinery
The aim of this course is that it be completed by all operators. The course covers
– basic operational skills
– WHS obligations
– pre start checks
– obligations of conditional registration for mowers
– unloading, loading and transporting of mowers
– Basic Maintenance, servicing and shut down procedures
Generally all operators should complete this course – even for experienced operators it provides the fundamental skills that are needed to safely complete their job.
AHCMOM304 – Operate Machinery and Equipment
The aim of this course is to give users skills in knowledge in the specific use of zero turn mowers, the basic course will be a pre-requisite. If you do not have standard out in front mowers we can include the theory from the basic course into this course and make it a two day course.
AHCMOM305 : Operate Specialised Machinery and Equipment
This course is designed for more advanced operators to train the skills needed for their use. We can adapt this course for the mowers you use if it’s a wide-area mower, reel mower, or another large commercial mower. The basic course will be a pre-requisite for this course, but not necessarily the zero-turn mowers.
Generally the Z Turn course and the Large Area Mower course are completed after the basic course, however we can combine all three courses in a 3 day package if required.
Every 3 years the operators will be required to undertake a refresher – this will be a one day course.
We believe this is a comprehensive industry training structure to help an organisation build their capabilities and meet their complex WHS requirements. For more information or to have a chat to see how we can help get target our course to your specific needs get in contact now.