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SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED QUALIFICATION: 

Occupational Certificate: Chemical Plant Operator 
SAQA QUAL ID QUALIFICATION TITLE
102156  Occupational Certificate: Chemical Plant Operator 
ORIGINATOR
Development Quality Partner - CHIETA 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
Occupational Certificate  Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology  Manufacturing and Assembly 
ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
Undefined  487  Not Applicable  NQF Level 04  Regular-ELOAC 
REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
Registered  EXCO 04168/19  2019-09-11  2024-09-11 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2025-09-11   2028-09-11  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification replaces: 
Qual ID Qualification Title Pre-2009 NQF Level NQF Level Min Credits Replacement Status
78529  Further Education and Training Certificate: Chemical Operations  Level 4  NQF Level 04  140  Complete 
78528  National Certificate: Chemical Operations  Level 3  NQF Level 03  120  Complete 
78527  National Certificate: Chemical Operations  Level 2  NQF Level 02  135  Complete 

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE OF THE QUALIFICATION 
Purpose:
The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as a Chemical Plant Operator.

A Chemical Plant Operator operates a chemical plant remotely, and controls and monitors the quality of the end-product.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Start a chemical process in a chemical plant.
  • Control, maintain and monitor the chemical processing plant and equipment of a chemical plant to a specified state.
  • Shut down a chemical process in a chemical plant to a specific state.
  • Maintain the quality of the chemical product in a chemical process.
  • Assess risks and respond to hazardous conditions, emergencies and abnormal conditions.

    Rationale:
    This qualification is for people working in the chemical operations industry who want to progress in the chemical operations industry. The qualification reflects the workplace-based common or non-specific needs that a learner requires in the chemical operations industry, before progressing to learning at a higher level.

    Typical learners are operating personnel working in chemical processing plants such as fertilisers, pesticides, petroleum and detergents. The chemical processing industry is well established in South Africa, and its success is dependent upon the efficient production of chemical products. Achievement of this objective is largely dependent upon the competence of the people who operate chemical processing equipment. An adequate number of people with these skills are needed to ensure that the chemical production units in South Africa operate productively.

    The second group of learners will be school leavers, who want to pursue a career in chemical operations and who will be new entrants into the sector.

    Competence in chemical process operations requires appropriate general, chemical-specific technical and other knowledge and its application; as well as expertise in operating production equipment and controlling a chemical process. This knowledge and expertise can form a basis for further learning particularly in the production/operational, engineering and supervisory aspects of chemical operations and similar industries in the chemical and other sectors. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    RPL for access to the external integrated summative assessment: Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning. Accredited providers and workplaces must confirm prior learning by issuing a statement of result or certifying a work experience record.

    RPL for access to the qualification: Accredited providers and approved workplaces may recognise prior learning against the relevant access requirements.

    Entry Requirements:
  • Level 1 with Mathematics. 

  • RECOGNISE PREVIOUS LEARNING? 

    QUALIFICATION RULES 
    This qualification is made up of the following compulsory Knowledge and Practical Skill Modules:

    Knowledge Modules:
  • 313301001-KM-01, Organisation and Work Rules, Level 2, 8 Credits.
  • 313301001-KM-02, Concepts and Application Principles of all Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Requirements related to a Chemical Process, Level 2, 4 Credits.
  • 313301001-KM-03, Chemical Plant Equipment, Level 2, 25 Credits.
  • 313301001-KM-04, Chemical Plant Systems Operations, Level 2, 10 Credits.
  • 313301001-KM-05, Chemical Plant Equipment, Level 3, 10 Credits.
  • 313301001-KM-06, Chemical Plant Systems Operations, Level 3, 20 Credits.
  • 313301001-KM-07, Calculations and Process Chemistry for the Chemical Plant Operator, Level 3, 13 Credits.
  • 313301001-KM-08, Chemical Plant Equipment, Level 4, 5 Credits.
  • 313301001-KM-09, Chemical Plant Systems Operations, Level 4, 10 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 105.

    Practical Skill Modules:
  • 313301001-PM-01, Start-up Chemical Processing Equipment within Design Parameters and Applicable Legislative Requirements, Level 2, 20 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-02, Achieve Equipment Efficiency and Optimisation, Level 2, 8 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-03, Shut Down Chemical Processing Equipment, Level 2, 20 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-04, Take Samples of Raw Material and Product for Quality Verification according to Product Specifications, Level 2, 6 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-05, Safely Handle and Store Hazardous Chemicals while Conforming to Safety Requirements, Level 2, 10 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-06, Start up a Chemical System within Design Parameters and Applicable Legislative Requirements, Level 3, 15 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-07, Achieve Plant Efficiency and Optimisation, Level 3, 7 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-08, Shut Down a Chemical Processing System within Design Parameters and applicable Legislative Requirements, Level 3, 15 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-09, Maintain Raw Material and Product Quality according to Product Specifications, Level 3, 4 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-10, Perform Emergency Actions Safely without Damage to Equipment or People, Level 3, 6 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-11, Start up a Chemical Processing Plant within Design Parameters and applicable Legislative Requirements, Level 4, 10 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-12, Achieve Plant Efficiency and Optimisation, Level 4, 5 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-13, Shut Down a Chemical Processing Plant within Design Parameters and applicable Legislative Requirements, Level 4, 10 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-14, Maintain Raw Material and Product Quality according to Product Specifications, Level 4, 2 Credits.
  • 313301001-PM-15, Perform Emergency Actions Safely without Damage to Equipment or People, Level 4, 4 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 142.

    This qualification also requires the following Work Experience Modules:
  • 313301001-WM-01, Starting up of Equipment in a Chemical Plant, Level 2, 22 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-02, Efficient and Optimised Continuous/Batch Processes, Level 2, 19 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-03, Plant Shutdown, Emergency and Planned Shutdown Processes, Level 2, 22 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-04, Raw Material, and Product Quality Assurance Processes, Level 2, 5 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-05, Plant Operations According to SHERQ Requirements, Level 2, 10 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-06, Starting Up of a Chemical Processes in a Chemical Plant, Level 3, 22 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-07, Efficient and Optimised Continuous/Batch Processes, Level 3, 19 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-08, System Shutdown, Emergency and Planned Shutdown Processes, Level 3, 22 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-09, Raw Material and Product Quality Insurance Processes, Level 3, 5 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-10, Plant Operations According to SHERQ Requirements, Level 3, 15 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-11, Starting Up of a Chemical Processes in a Chemical Plant, Level 4, 21 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-12, Efficient and Optimised Continuous/Batch Processes, Level 4, 17 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-13, Plant Shutdown, Emergency and Planned Shutdown Processes, Level 4, 21 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-14, Raw Material and Product Quality Insurance Processes, Level 4, 5 Credits.
  • 313301001-WM-15, Plant Operations According to SHERQ Requirements, Level 4, 15 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 240. 

  • EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES 
    1. Start-up and shut-down equipment within design parameters.
    2. Start-up and shut-down an operating system according to sequence, priority, up-stream and down-stream requirements, conditions and influences.
    3. Start-up, shut down, control and monitor the process within design parameters defined by conditions, systems and raw material availability and product specifications to achieve safe, reliable and stable operations utilising team collaboration.
    4. Optimise the product quality by using sampling and analysis of the sampling results to continuously adjust operating variables.
    5. Communicate effectively to assess risks and respond to emergencies, and abnormal conditions enhance safe operating conditions and report effectively.
    6. Apply environmental considerations and safe disposal of waste or non-conforming product.
    7. Conduct trouble shooting and participate in root cause analysis to develop recommendations to alleviate unsafe working conditions/acts as a member of a team. 

    ASSOCIATED ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 
    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Pre-start up or shut-down checks of equipment are conducted.
  • The intent for start-up or shut-down of equipment is communicated to affected team/stakeholders.
  • Equipment integrity is confirmed and ready for use.
  • Correct documentation is available and ready for use.
  • The equipment is started-up or shut-down within design parameters according to procedures.
  • Equipment is inspected for abnormal operating conditions and results and abnormalities after evaluation are reported.
  • Established conditions of equipment are confirmed to relevant team/stakeholders (such as field operator or control room operator).

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Up-stream and down-stream process conditions impacting the systems are identified and communicated.
  • Pre-start up or shut-down checks of a basic operating system are conducted
  • The intent for start-up or shut-down of a basic operating system is communicated to affected team/stakeholders.
  • Process integrity is confirmed and ready for use.
  • Correct documentation is available and ready for use.
  • A basic operating system is started-up or shut-down according to design parameters.
  • A basic operating system is inspected for abnormal operating conditions and results and abnormalities after evaluation are reported.
  • Established conditions of a basic operating system are confirmed to relevant team/stakeholders (such as field operator or control room operator).

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Start-up or shut down activities are coordinated with team members to achieve safe, reliable and stable operations.
  • Upstream and downstream conditions are coordinated and communicated.
  • The integrated systems of the process are optimised according to the input feeds, throughput (run-down streams) and process conditions from the field.
  • Process conditions and abnormalities are inspected, recorded and reported on.
  • Health, safety (personal and process) and environmental compliance are monitored, reported and action taken during process operations.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Representative samples (routine and ad-hoc) are taken during operations for analysis.
  • Process and/or analytical data are interpreted, and remedial actions are taken on the process to rectify any deviation to optimise the process.
  • Results are recorded and compared with relevant product specifications.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • Accepted communication channels and devices such as two-way radio with team/stakeholders are utilised for effective communication.
  • A comprehensive shift hand-over is conducted at shift change.
  • Information is recorded on approved document control system.
  • Potential risks related to process operations are assessed and communicated to maintain stable conditions.
  • Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) requirements are interpreted and complied with when dealing with incidences, leaks or spillages.
  • Appropriate reporting techniques and documents are applied.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 6:
  • Safe disposal procedures for chemical waste referring to reduce, reuse and recycle are defined.
  • Non-conforming product is diverted and stored for later re-work.
  • Proper tagging, labelling, reporting, storage, handling requirements of all products are adhered to.
  • Waste treatment and neutralisation of non-conforming product requirements are discussed and defined.
  • The requirements for the safe handling of chemical spillages, incidents, and accidents such as fires, explosions and releases are analysed.
  • Legal requirements and industry standards or Process Safety Management (PSM) principles are justified.
  • Procedures to deal with flaring, venting, purging, emissions are analysed for compliance with safety regulations.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 7:
  • Task team activities are supported and operated as a member of a task team.
  • Trouble shooting principles are applied to identify process deviations.
  • Conditions that may lead to production losses and unsafe events are investigated.
  • Probable solutions which will address problems appropriately are identified, and recommendations which include corrective actions are justified.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Integrated Formative Assessment:
    The skills development provider will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment:
    An external integrated summative assessment, conducted through the relevant Quality Council for Trades and Occupations Assessment Quality Partner is required for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the Exit Level Outcomes and Associated Assessment Criteria. 

  • INTERNATIONAL COMPARABILITY 
    The comparison was done against the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) from Britain, the Australian and New Zealand Qualifications Frameworks.

    United Kingdom:
    A comparison with the British qualification was included because the British chemical industry is very well developed and the NVQ is an educational structure comparable to the. An internet search revealed that the City and Guilds Level 4 NVQ in Chemical, Pharmaceutical, and Petro-Chemical Operations focuses on providing Technical Support training. The qualification contains compulsory core units consisting of safety, teamwork, work handover; three compulsory units related to technical support; and a choice of five elective units from a range with a high quality component, emergencies, energy optimisation and problem solving.

    Australia:
    The Australian processing industry is a similar size and sophistication as the South African industry. For this reason, a comparison with the Australian qualification was included, as well as the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) being an educational structure comparable to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). An internet search of the AQF revealed that the Australian Certificate IV in Process Plant Technology contains compulsory core units on communication, safety, quality and work procedures which are also included in the previous levels. (These five units do not have to be repeated if completed previously). The qualification consists of 26 units, but if the core units have been completed previously, the learner only has to complete 21 units in total. At least five units have to be chosen from a range of technical and operational units with the emphasis on control and supervision. The rest of the qualification is made up of units from other training packages, or the learner is allowed to choose elective unit standards in domains that are comparable to what is required for the local qualification, e.g. lead teams, implement operational plans, and process supervision.

    New Zealand:
    Research in the NZQA showed that a Certificate in Energy and Chemical Plant (Process Operation) (Level 4) is registered. This qualification allows for optional strands in Refrigeration, Steam Generation, Ancillary Operations, Geothermal, Waste Management and Co-Generation. The basic Process Operation qualification contains 9 compulsory core unit standards consisting of 1 workplace communication unit standard and 8 processing operations and safety unit standards, totalling 58 Credits.

    If the learner wants to gain competence in one of the strands mentioned above, a further range of elective unit standards specific to that area of specialisation has to be chosen.

    The content of this qualification is similar to that contained in the Level 3 Modules of the South African qualification, namely: communication, safety, quality control and equipment operation, monitoring, and maintenance. The main difference between this qualification and the South African Level 4 qualification is that the learner is not trained to take up the control of a process in a chemical plant.

    Both local and international qualifications place a high emphasis on safety with a range of unit standards relating to hazards, emergencies and environmental protection included.

    Conclusion:
    Based on the findings outlined above, it is concluded that the South African occupational qualification compares favourably in terms of content and complexity of the above qualifications. 

    ARTICULATION OPTIONS 
    Horizontal Articulation:
  • Further Education and Training Certificate: Manufacturing and Assembly Operations Supervision, Level 4.
  • Further Education and Training Certificate: Sugar Processing, Level 4.

    Vertical Articulation:
  • Occupational Certificate: Chemist (Surface Coatings Technologist), Level 5. 

  • MODERATION OPTIONS 
    N/A 

    CRITERIA FOR THE REGISTRATION OF ASSESSORS 
    N/A 

    NOTES 
    Qualifying for external assessment:
  • In order to qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required modules by means of statements of results and work experience including the Foundational Learning Competence.

    Additional legal or physical entry requirements:
  • None.

    Criteria for the accreditation of providers:
  • Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant curriculum on the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) website.
  • The curriculum title and code is: Chemical Plant Operator: 313301001.

    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the NLRD:
  • This is not a trade qualification.

    Part Qualifications:
  • None. 

  • LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    When qualifications are replaced, some (but not all) of their learning programmes are moved to the replacement qualifications. If a learning programme appears to be missing from here, please check the replaced qualification.
     
    NONE 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. SAPITI (SOUTH AFRICAN PAINT INDUSTRY TRAINING INSTITUTE) 
    2. SCIENTEC EDUCATION AND TRAINING (PTY) LTD 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.