- Project No 1111
- Project Name Value of Operator Competency: A study to demonstrate the value of developing, building and continually growing a competent operator workforce
- Lead Organisation Coliban Water
- Research Lead Risk Edge
- Main Researcher Sallyanne Bartlett
- Completion Year 2019
Failure to maintain appropriate levels of knowledge, skill, and experience in the frontline operator workforce runs the risk of disruption and loss of service delivery consequent to human error, along with associated risks to the environment and public health and safety. This research reviewed literature that reports water quality safety incidents, other industry training requirements, and forward-looking training preparedness for new technologies. A case study and water industry survey provided additional information for review. Five key operating principles proved important to operator development and training. It was found that the Australian water industry lacks workforce competency and management practices that are well-established in the aviation, nursing, electrical and engineering industries, and that many utilities do not use the Water Industry Operators Certification Framework, even though this provides the best pathway to frontline operator competency and management. It was concluded that the Australian water industry would benefit from considering regulatory changes to drive a nationally consistent governance approach to the provision of frontline operator training and competency certification.