We are surrounded by certifiable people and most of us probably don’t even know it. Frequently our lives may be in their hands.
Certifiable people are needed whenever complex or risky services are being delivered in delicate, dangerous, legislated and remote workplaces. At the most basic, you can’t get access to a building construction site until after a safety briefing from the site supervisor and you have your hard hat and high-vis jacket on. Of course things are a lot more widespread and get a lot more complicated than that. There are extensive risk and governance issues to ensure work is safely done to the appropriate standards. And high risk should not be considered solely about physical danger. As well as the obvious, many workplaces such as bio, chemicals, transport, storage, health, aged care, education and child services have limits and requirements around employment and work force certification.
This is all underpinned by local and national legislation (see some handy links below) which has a habit of changing on a regular basis. Penalties stretch far and wide for failure including contractual loss, financial imposts, reputational damage, director’s liability and the potential ultimate risk of someone’s catastrophic injury or death. These responsibilities have rolled out beyond the direct workforce to incorporate labour hire and contractors as well.
One of our clients provides fully managed assets and associated maintenance and engineering services into the utilities sector. They have a large multi-state engineering workforce with an extensive set of skills that require detailed and current certification. Their people need to be certified for certain high risk work tasks, they also need certification for the operational and geographical locations they work in. Some individuals at this client require 80 or more concurrent certifications in order to perform their daily tasks safely across multiple geographies.
This is not uncommon in the field services sector. At another client a heavy machinery operator was certified on a particular piece of equipment for a mining environment however may not have been approved for the same equipment in a waterfront workplace. In particular regions environmental impacts are demanding additional focus in order to protect land rights, flora and fauna needs. One client in the petrochemical industry has an operation license restricting some activities under certain wind directions in order to protect rare and delicate local flora.
These things don’t stand still. Even minor changes to legislation, equipment or location can have major ripple effects. Changes demand risk assessments to identify impacts to the business that will likely result in procedural and technical up-skilling needing to be rolled out across the workforce.
Employee certification management is a critical input into resources scheduling and planning for such organisations. Exact levels of certification across the workforce need to be properly maintained and constantly kept current through the necessary update training and testing. This is a tedious and time consuming process and one particularly subject to administrative fatigue that allows things to fall through the cracks.
That latest client example made three previous attempts to manage their workforce certifications requirements. Initially an in-house developed application was considered. However the system had to be robust and as it extends to many underlying applications and processes, this approach was deemed not sustainable. Further review involved assessments of SharePoint and also their incumbent HR system, however each of those had unacceptable boundaries and limitations.
An elegant XMPro solution now solves their certification management processes, helps managers predict availability, allows individuals to manage their own training and testing, triggers exception alerts for review and provides valuable input for resource planning and reporting. A potential extension is to link self-managed certification to employee performance. Helping poor performers to improve their behaviour will ensure maximum resource availability for minimum administration overhead.
You can read more about Professional Advantage and XMPro here.
Some useful Australian State workplace licensing and certification links:
SA – SafeWork SA