Operate waste processing plant


This unit of competency specifies the outcomes required to operate waste processing plants to prepare for waste disposal or recycling. The unit covers preparing for plant operation by reviewing work specifications, identifying hazards and risks, and organising required equipment, materials and personnel. It also covers conducting pre-operational checks of plant and equipment to ensure correct and safe operation and resolving identified problems. The unit requires following manufacturer specifications to start, operate, isolate, shut down, clean and maintain plant and equipment. It requires the ability to work with others to maintain communication while operating plant, and monitor gauges and warning devices, inputs and outputs to ensure optimal operation and safety at all times.

The unit supports those who work under limited supervision in a waste management team.

Licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements may apply to this unit of competency in some States where a licence is required to operate various plant, vehicles or equipment used to transport, shift, load, unload, lift, compact or otherwise process waste. Relevant state and territory regulatory authorities should be consulted to confirm those requirements.

Elements and Performance Criteria

Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the range of conditions.


Prepare to operate waste processing plant.


Work specifications are reviewed in consultation with relevant personnel to identify plant operating requirements.


Hazards and risks are identified and managed or reported according to organisational and compliance requirements.


Equipment, materials and required personnel are identified and organised according to work and organisational requirements.


Personal protective equipment (PPE) is selected, checked and used according to organisational and compliance requirements.


Conduct pre-operational checks.


Pre-start visual checks and basic maintenance checks are conducted according to manufacturer specifications, organisational and compliance requirements.


Equipment systems are tested for correct functioning according to manufacturer specifications and organisational requirements.


Equipment is cleaned to ensure safe operation according to organisational and compliance requirements.


Safety structures and controls are checked to ensure operational capacity complies with organisational and compliance requirements.


Correct plant operation is confirmed, and identified problems are promptly reported according to organisational requirements.


Start-up, use and shut-down processing plant


Relevant personnel are advised of impending plant operation to ensure safety and readiness for operation.


Plant is started and operated according to manufacturer specifications and organisational requirements.


Gauges and warning devices are monitored to ensure optimal plant operation and continuous operation according to organisational and compliance requirements.


Plant inputs, processing and outputs are monitored and adjustments made where necessary according to work specifications and organisational requirements.


Communication with other personnel is maintained to ensure safe plant operation according to organisational and compliance requirements.


Faults that create hazardous operations are identified and reported on, and operations are suspended according to manufacturer specifications and organisational requirements.


Plant is shut down according to manufacturer specifications and organisational requirements.


Finalise processing plant operation.


Plant and associated equipment are cleaned to remove debris and contamination and ensure safe and effective future operation according to manufacturer specifications.


Record of plant operation is completed according to organisational requirements.

Evidence of Performance

A person demonstrating competency in this unit must satisfy the requirements of the elements, performance criteria, foundation skills and range of conditions of this unit. The person must operate a waste processing plant on two separate occasions.

While operating above waste processing plant, the person must:

prepare for the plant operation by interpreting work specifications and organising the required equipment, materials and personnel

follow organisational procedures to work safely and comply with regulatory and legal requirements

follow manufacturer specifications to:

conduct pre-operational checks of the processing plant to confirm correct function and operation, including:

pre-start visual checks, as specified in the range of conditions

basic maintenance checks, as specified in the range of conditions

checks of safety structures and controls, as specified in the range of conditions

clean the plant and equipment

start-up, shut-down and isolate the processing plant

identify and report non-conforming equipment and problems relating to the plant operation

identify and segregate waste types including regulated and non-conforming waste and valuable resources in waste

monitor plant operation and make necessary adjustments for optimal operation.

Evidence of Knowledge

A person demonstrating competency in this unit must demonstrate knowledge of:

equipment and materials which may be required to operate, clean and maintain waste processing plant

organisational policies and procedures and regulatory and legal requirements relating to operating waste processing plant

hazards and risks associated with waste processing

industry-accepted signalling techniques

key features of the waste management hierarchy

procedures for optimal waste processing plant operation and faults which may affect operation

procedures used to start-up, shut-down, isolate, maintain and clean waste processing plant

types and purpose of safety structures and controls on waste processing plant, as specified in the range of conditions

types, streams and characteristics of waste including hazardous and dangerous waste

waste disposal and recovery routes

waste non-conformances and contaminants.

Assessment Conditions

The following must be present and available to learners during assessment activities:


personal protective equipment (PPE), as specified by organisational requirements

waste processing plant, as specified by organisational requirements

relationships with team members and supervisor:

working under limited supervision.


as specified by organisational requirements.

Assessor requirements

As a minimum, assessors must satisfy the assessor requirements in the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) current at the time of assessment.

Foundation Skills

This section describes the language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills essential to performance in this unit but not explicit in the performance criteria.


Performance feature

Oral communication skills to:

ask questions to clarify work information with relevant personnel.

Reading skills to:

interpret operator’s manual

interpret safety data sheets (SDS) related to hazardous waste.

Writing skills to:

record plant operation details using organisational proformas.

Range Statement

This section specifies work environments and conditions that may affect performance. Essential operating conditions that may be present (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) are included. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below.

Work specificationsmust include at least five of the following:

equipment and PPE requirements

personnel requirements

plant operation requirements

potential hazards and risks

reporting requirements

site requirements

waste types to be processed

work schedules.

Relevant personnel must include at least one of the following:


supervisor or team leader

team member.

Compliance requirements must include:

commonwealth, state and territory legislation relating to waste processing plant operation, including:

environmental protection

hazardous substances and dangerous goods

industry codes

work health and safety

licensing requirements.

Pre-start visual checks must include checks for:


component wear




potential hazards.

Basic maintenance checks must include checks on at least five of the following:




oil seals



Safety structures and controls must include at least five of the following:


automatic plant shut-down buttons


cords and lanyards

earth leakage devices


isolation and lock-out or tag-out procedures.


Waste management