Assessor Resource

Operate heat exchangers

Assessment tool

Version 1.0
Issue Date: May 2019

In this competency, an operator would typically start up and shut down heat exchangers in accordance with procedures, and make adjustments to flow rate, temperature and pressure, depending on the type of heat exchanger.

Generally the operator would be part of a team during start up and shut down procedures and would be expected to be capable of demonstrating competence in all parts of this unit. At all times they would be liaising and cooperating with other members of the team.

This competency does not cover super heaters or waste heat boilers, which are treated as part of steam generating equipment.

This competency is typically performed by an operator and covers the operation of heat exchangers, including heat exchangers that form part of a heating, cooling or refrigeration system, and solving of heat exchanger problems.

You may want to include more information here about the target group and the purpose of the assessments (eg formative, summative, recognition)

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Evidence Required

List the assessment methods to be used and the context and resources required for assessment. Copy and paste the relevant sections from the evidence guide below and then re-write these in plain English.

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment

Assessment of this unit should include demonstrated competence on actual plant and equipment in a work environment. The unit will be assessed in as holistic a manner as is practical and may be integrated with the assessment of other relevant units of competency. Assessment will occur over a range of situations which will include disruptions to normal, smooth operation.

Simulation may be required to allow for assessment of parts of this unit. Simulation should be based on the actual plant and will include walk-throughs of the relevant competency components. Simulations may also include the use of case studies/scenarios and role plays.

This unit of competency requires a significant body of knowledge which will be assessed through questioning and the use of what-if scenarios both on the plant (during demonstration of normal operations and walk-throughs of abnormal operations) and off the plant.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

Competence must be demonstrated in the ability to recognise and analyse potential situations requiring action and then in implementing appropriate corrective action. The emphasis should be on the ability to stay out of trouble rather than on recovery from a disaster.

Consistent performance should be demonstrated. In particular look to see that:

early warning signs of equipment/processes needing attention or with potential problems are recognised

the range of possible causes can be identified and analysed and the most likely cause determined

appropriate action is taken to ensure a timely return to full performance

obvious problems in related plant areas are recognised and an appropriate contribution made to their solution.

These aspects may be best assessed using a range of scenarios/case studies/what-ifs as the stimulus with a walk-through forming part of the response. These assessment activities should include a range of problems, including new, unusual and improbable situations which may have been generated from the past incident history of the plant, incidents on similar plants around the world, hazard analysis activities and similar sources.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment will require access to an operating plant over an extended period of time, or a suitable method of gathering evidence of operating ability over a range of situations. A bank of scenarios/case studies/what-ifs will be required as will a bank of questions which will be used to probe the reasoning behind the observable actions.

Method of assessment

In all plants it may be appropriate to assess this unit concurrently with relevant teamwork and communication units. For many plants, it might be appropriate for this unit to be assessed with units covering:

fluid flow

utilities and services


In a major hazard facility, it may be appropriate to assess this unit concurrently with:

MSAPMOHS200A Work safely.

Guidance information for assessment

Assessment processes and techniques must be culturally appropriate and appropriate to the oracy, language and literacy capacity of the assessee and the work being performed.

Submission Requirements

List each assessment task's title, type (eg project, observation/demonstration, essay, assingnment, checklist) and due date here

Assessment task 1: [title]      Due date:

(add new lines for each of the assessment tasks)

Assessment Tasks

Copy and paste from the following data to produce each assessment task. Write these in plain English and spell out how, when and where the task is to be carried out, under what conditions, and what resources are needed. Include guidelines about how well the candidate has to perform a task for it to be judged satisfactory.

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Required skills

efficient and effective operation of plant/equipment

hazard analysis

completing plant records


problem solving.

Operation of heat exchanger and the ability to recognise and resolve operational problems. This could include any of the following remedial actions:

making adjustments

carrying out minor maintenance

identifying and reporting problems outside operator's scope of responsibility

identifying and controlling hazards related to heat exchangers and their integral equipment, including pressure vessels.

Required knowledge

Comprehensive understanding of heat exchanger principles to a level needed to control the operation. In particular, the operator needs to understand the factors affecting efficient operation of a heat exchanger in order to make appropriate adjustments or recognise when maintenance is required. These also includes a knowledge of:

all items on a schematic of the heat exchanger system and the function of each

principles of operation of heat exchangers

correct methods of starting, operating and shutting down heat exchangers

issues related to pressure vessels (regulations, requirements)

physics and chemistry relevant to the process unit

process parameters and limits, eg temperature, pressure, flow, pH

duty of care obligations

hierarchy of control

communication protocols, eg radio, phone, computer, paper, permissions/authorities

routine problems, faults and their resolution

relevant alarms and actions

plant process idiosyncrasies

causes of head loss and change in heat transfer coefficient/rates

corrective action appropriate to the problem cause

function and troubleshooting of major internal components and their problems, such as tubes and baffles.

The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the Performance Criteria, is detailed below. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs if the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Codes of practice/ standards

Where reference is made to industry codes of practice, and/or Australian/international standards, the latest version must be used.


This competency includes all types of heat exchangers such as:





air cooled fin

shell and tube (all variants of design)

scraped surface

vessel jackets/coils.

This competency does not cover super heaters or waste heat boilers, as these are treated as part of steam generating equipment.

Heat exchanger duties

Heat exchanger duties include:






gas dryers

gas coolers

refrigeration (evaporators/condensers).


Typical problems include:

damage to heat exchanger due to overheating and/or under/over pressurising

factors that affect heat exchanger efficiency (scale build-up, fouling, internal leakage, air lock, turbulence, corrosion)

leakage or gasket problems

recognising when maintenance is required.

Start up shut down as required

Start up shut down as required includes:

start up and shut down to/from normal operating conditions

start up and shut down to/from isolated, cold, empty

all other conditions experienced on the plant.

ie from any condition to any condition experienced on the plant.

Appropriate action

Appropriate action includes:

determining problems needing action

determining possible fault causes

rectifying problem using appropriate solution within area of responsibility

following through items initiated until final resolution has occurred

reporting problems outside area of responsibility to designated person.


Procedures may be written, verbal, computer-based or in some other form. They include:

all work instructions

standard operating procedures


batch sheets

temporary instructions

any similar instructions provided for the smooth running of the plant.

For the purposes of this Training Package, 'procedures' also includes good operating practice as may be defined by industry codes of practice (eg Responsible Care) and government regulations.

Health, safety and environment (HSE)

All operations to which this unit applies are subject to stringent health, safety and environment requirements, which may be imposed through State or Federal legislation, and these must not be compromised at any time. Where there is an apparent conflict between Performance Criteria and HSE requirements, the HSE requirements take precedence.

Copy and paste from the following performance criteria to create an observation checklist for each task. When you have finished writing your assessment tool every one of these must have been addressed, preferably several times in a variety of contexts. To ensure this occurs download the assessment matrix for the unit; enter each assessment task as a column header and place check marks against each performance criteria that task addresses.

Observation Checklist

Tasks to be observed according to workplace/college/TAFE policy and procedures, relevant legislation and Codes of Practice Yes No Comments/feedback
Identify work requirements 
Identify and control hazards 
Coordinate with appropriate personnel 
Identify the type of heat exchanger 
Start up and shut down heat exchanger according to the heat exchanger type and duty 
Adjust flow rates, temperatures and pressure as appropriate to type of heat exchanger 
Complete routine checks, logs and paperwork, taking action on unexpected readings and trends. 
Isolate plant 
Make safe for required work 
Check plant is ready to be returned to service 
Prepare plant for return to service. 


Assessment Cover Sheet

PMAOPS205B - Operate heat exchangers
Assessment task 1: [title]

Student name:

Student ID:

I declare that the assessment tasks submitted for this unit are my own work.

Student signature:

Result: Competent Not yet competent

Feedback to student









Assessor name:



Assessment Record Sheet

PMAOPS205B - Operate heat exchangers

Student name:

Student ID:

Assessment task 1: [title] Result: Competent Not yet competent

(add lines for each task)

Feedback to student:









Overall assessment result: Competent Not yet competent

Assessor name:



Student signature: