Verification of Competency

VOC Assessments undertaken by SMSTI

The following VOC Assessments can be completed at our site or at your workplace.

  • Basic Scaffolding
  • Intermediate Scaffolding (Inc. basic scaffolding_
  • Advanced Scaffolding (Inc. basic & intermediate scaffolding)
  • Dogging
  • Rigging
  • EWP
  • Forklift
  • Working at Heights
  • Confined Space Entry
  • Tele-handler
  • And more


SMS Training Institute conducts various VOC assessments for a number of large organisations.

Verification of Competency (VOC) is a process of assessments that are used to ensure staff can operate industrial machinery and equipment, or perform certain workplace tasks safely.

It is no longer acceptable for an employee just be the holder of a ticket/licence or qualification.

Employers must confirm that an individual is competent to do a task or operate a machine.

The National Work Health and Safety Act (NUL) and the WA Mines Safety & Inspection Act places duties on employers to be sure their workers are competent to safely operate equipment or safely perform the work they are employing them to undertake.

The fact a worker holds a licence or a national competency to operate equipment or perform work does not mean they are deemed competent indefinitely.  Holding a licence or national competency indicates that on a particular date an individual knew how to safely operate that equipment or safely perform that work.

A worker’s competency may diminish for a range of reasons.  It may be:

  • the worker has not performed the work for a lengthy period of time; or
  • the work environment has changed and the worker is not familiar with the different surroundings; or
  • the plant or equipment has been replaced and the controls are different to what the worker is accustomed to; or
  • the worker experienced a near miss situation and their confidence has been affected; or
  • deterioration of vision or hearing or, other health related issues could affect their ability to perform the work; or
  • any number of other factors may apply.


An employer is responsible for ensuring that they regularly assess the level at which the relevant worker is capable of performing the work.  If the level of competency diminishes the employer is responsible for providing suitable training.  The level of competency is then reassessed prior to allowing that worker to undertake the work.

So, what is competency? Competency is the capability to apply or use the set of related knowledge, skills, and abilities required to successfully perform ‘critical work functions’ or tasks in a defined work setting.

Competence is a measure of both proven skills and proven knowledge.

This is particularly important for activities that may result in an injury due to the nature of the task i.e. high risk work, confined spaces, working at height, mobile plant operations etc.

Verification of Competency Assessments enables businesses to confirm that their employees are competent in their skills and in using specific equipment.

How is a VOC conducted?

A VOC Assessment is the formal process of collecting evidence of the current competencies (skills and knowledge) a worker has developed through:

  • a structured learning environment
  • on-the-job training
  • off-the-job training
  • other relevant workplace experience.

All verification methods include a documented assessment. Theoretical knowledge is normally assessed in a training room but may also be conducted on the job (e.g. through documented verbal questioning). Skills assessments are usually conducted on the job using a practical test or, simulation using plant and/or equipment that is typically found in the individuals’ workplace.

The assessments align to national benchmarked standards and where relevant, the national standard for licencing persons to perform high risk work.

Upon completion of a VOC assessment, each candidate will receive a VOC assessment report. A copy of this can be forwarded to the employer if required.


SMSTI is able to conduct VOC assessments on behalf of client organisations.

SMSTI recognises that all workplaces and activities differ. Therefore, each assessment can also be customised for your organisation’s specific needs.

Contact SMSTI for further information regarding VOC assessment development.

What if the person is not competent?

If the VOC Assessment found that a candidate is not currently competent, the individual would then be advised of any additional ‘gap’ training they’d need to undertake in order to be deemed competent again.

Note: SMSTI will not compromise its reputation by declaring a person competent if in fact, they are not.


The duration of all VOC assessments varies depending on the knowledge, skill level and experience of each candidate and the number of candidates attending. SMSTI does not set time limits for VOC Assessments.

However, as a general ‘rule-of-thumb’, please allow approximately 3-4 hours. A competent operator should be able to complete an assessment within this timeframe.


SMSTI will only conduct a VOC Assessment if the individual holds the relevant competency or holds a High Risk Work Licence for the competency being assessed. All candidates MUST be able to provide documented proof showing they hold the particular competency to be assessed. This may be in the form of a Statement of Attainment, a wallet card issued by another RTO, or a WorkSafe High Risk Licence. This must be sighted by the assessor at the time of assessment.


Contact our office on 6270 4608 for details. Group bookings welcome.