Examiners’ report: GCC OHS Act, Plant Engineering

July 14th, 2014, Published in Articles: Vector

The following reports were received from the commissioners of examiners for the Government Certificate of Competency (GCC) examinations, November 2013.

The examiner’s report states that pass rate of 45,5% was achieved with the highest and lowest marks 85% (Strand) and 10% (Centurion) respectively. The institutions with the best results are Pinelands, with six passes out of seven candidates (14 enrollments); Centurion, with five passes out of eight candidates (ten enrollments); Krugersdorp, with four passes out of six candidates who wrote the exam (six enrollments), and Brakpan, with four passes out of six candidates (seven enrollments).

Candidates’ work

Following here are general remarks on the examination:

  • Question 1: This question dealt with some definitions of the act and duties of the employees and the CEO of a business. It was very well answered and 143 candidates (70,4%) obtained five or more marks for the question.
  • Question 2: This question also dealt with the act regarding health and safety representatives and committees, and the sale of equipment for which safety standards are prescribed. It was also well answered, with 141 candidates (69,5%) obtaining five or more marks.
  • Question 3: This question dealt with the General Safety Regulations. The question was about flammable liquid stores, confined spaces and about building a stack. The question was well answered and 134 candidates (66%) obtained five or more marks.
  • Question 4: This question dealt with the Driven Machinery Regulations. It dealt mainly with the safety of the operator of machinery. It was very poorly answered and 94 candidates (46,3%) obtained five or more marks.
  • Question 5: This question dealt with the General Machinery Regulations. It dealt mainly with the appointment of a competent person and working near moving machinery. It was answered reasonably, with 105 candidates (51,7%) obtaining five or more marks.
  • Question 6: This question dealt with the Electrical Machinery Regulations. It dealt mainly with electrical machinery in Hazardous locations and earthing requirements. It was answered poorly and only 79 candidates (38,9%) obtained five or more marks.
  • Question 7: This question dealt with the Lift, Escalator and Passenger Conveyor Regulations. It dealt with a definition and the registration and maintenance of lifts. It was answered very poorly and only 53 candidates (26,1%) obtained five or more marks for this question while 45 candidates did not answer the question at all.
  • Question 8: This question also dealt with the Hazardous Chemical Substance Regulations and the Asbestos Regulations. The HCS and the Asbestos Regulations dealt with the exposure of employees. It was poorly answered and 88 candidates (43,3%) of candidates obtained five or more marks.
  • Question 9: This question dealt with the Construction Regulations and the General Administrative Regulations. The former dealt with demolition work while the General Administrative Regulations were about incident reporting and investigation. It was answered poorly and 84 candidates (41,4%) obtained five or more marks.
  • Question 10: This question dealt with the Pressure Equipment Regulations dealing with gas installations and the manufacture and testing of pressure vessels. It was answered poorly and 81 candidates (39,9%) earned five or more marks while 29 candidates did not answer the question at all or obtained only 1 mark.
Date of Exam Candidates enrolled Candidates who wrote Success Percentage passes
Nov 2013 297 203 92 45,5%
June 2013 252 190 58 30,5%
Nov 2012 265 188 62 33,0%
June 2012 262 174 73 42,0%
Nov 2011 268 180 50 27,8%
June 2011 238 159 80 51,3%
Nov 2010 238 172 46 26,7%
June 2010 239 158 78 49,4%
Nov 2009 218 157 44 28,0%
June 2009 205 138 52 37,7%
Nov 2008 219 157 68 43,2%

Fig. 1: Pass rate statistics, for the fill examinations, November 2003 to November 2013.

Shortcomings in the answers

Questions are still answered in terms which are too general and the facts given in the questions are repeated without providing the requested information. Questions are also repeated as answers. Some candidates still tend to answer with “must comply with the OHS Act and regulations” or “as prescribed by the regulations”. A number of candidates did not answer any questions on definitions and so lost marks. In this paper, definitions amounted to 18% of the total marks. Many candidates left out questions or parts of questions. No difficulties with the interpretation of the questions or the syllabus were detected.

General findings

The standard of the work was found to be acceptable with answer papers generally neat. The handwriting of a number of candidates was very difficult or even impossible to read. Only one paper was answered in Afrikaans.

Plant engineering: factories

The total number of candidates who registered for this examination, was 432 (403), of whom 341 (307) wrote the examination. There were 40 (3) candidates who scored 50% or higher, representing an unmoderated pass rate of 11,7% (1%). The highest mark was 83% (55%) from a candidate who wrote the examination at U-Tech Technical and Commercial High School.

Note: Previous examination’s statistics are in brackets.

% Number of candidates % Number of candidates
0 – 9 1 (1) 50 – 59 60 (40)
10 – 19 4 (6) 60 – 69 17 (10)
20 – 29 17 (16) 70 – 79 14 (4)
30 – 39 37 (42) 80 – 89 1 (4)
40 – 49 52 (67) 90 – 100 0 (0)
Totals 111 92

Fig.2: Distribution of marks: (previous examination in brackets).

Answers

  • Question 1: This was a compulsory question.
  • Question 1.1: The candidates were asked to calculate the energy and temperature efficiency at certain stages on a steam generator plant by also using steam tables. Only a few candidates could answer the question correctly.
  • Question 1.2: The candidates were given a scenario where vehicles were involved in an accident due to veld fires. The candidates were also asked to calculate the forces on the front and back wheels of the vehicles. Only a few candidates could answer the question correctly.
  • Question 2: This was a compulsory question on two transformers that were connected in parallel with the same rating, but with different internal resistance. The candidates had to calculate the power distribution in the two transformers. This question was answer fairly well, and a number of candidates achieved 100% for this question.
  • Question 3: This was a compulsory question.
  • Question 3.1: The candidates were asked to name eight basic behavioural safety principals to ensure effective implementation of the safety system. This question was not answered well .
  • Question 3.2: The candidates were asked to name six outcomes of behavioural safety. This question was also answered fairly.
  • Question 3.3: Candidates were asked for ten examples of reactive monitoring of data in an organisation to prevent recurrence of incidents in the workplace. Most of the candidates could not answer this question.
  • Question 3.4: This questions asked for two basic steps of risk assessment. It was answered well.
  • Question 4.1: This was a strength of material question on a solid and hollow shaft which is used to transmit power. The candidates were asked to calculate the size of the shaft and the percentage saving on the hollow shaft. This was a fairly easy question for those candidates who knew the formulae.
  • Question 5.1: The candidates were required to calculate the cost of two transformers with different losses and prices. They were also asked which transformer they would select and why. This question was not answered well.
  • Question 5.2: The candidates were required to calculate the shaft power and efficiency on a 3-phase induction motor. Only a few candidates could answer this question.
  • Question 6.1: This question was on a two-stage, single-acting reciprocating air compressor and the candidates had to answer various questions. Most of the candidates could not answer this question.
  • Question 6.2: The candidates were asked to calculate the isentropic efficiency and power required on a centrifugal machine which compresses air. This question was answered better answered than Question 6.1.
  • Question 7.1: Candidates has to calculate the torque required on the drum of a passenger lift and the power required to lift the car at a specific stage. Some candidates could answer this question.
  • Question 7.2: The candidates were required to name three types of bucket elevator. Some candidates could answer this question.
  • Question 7.3: Candidates had to provide eight examples of hazardous locations. This question was answered well.
  • Question 7.4: This question required four earth fault current protective measures which can be used to protect people, animals and property against harmful earth fault currents. Those who knew SANS 10142- 1 answered this question very well.
  • Question 7.5: Candidates had to provide four factors to bear in mind before an electrical installation can be done. Again, those who knew SANS 10142-1 answered this question very well.

General comments

Common problems include the fact that candidates were not prepared, that they lacked technical background and do not know basic formulae and mathematics. Candidates also tend to misunderstand the questions.

Theses reports are reproduced here by permission of the Department of Labour.

Contact Mariana Jacobs, ICMEESA, Tel 011 615-4304, icmeesa@icmeesa.org.za

  • Kwena Motshidi

    I hope to be prepared for this undertaking very soon. Very informative publication, thank you.

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