Hose assembly competence

Published:  06 May, 2015

Following last month’s article outlining what companies should do in order to best ensure they have an effective occupational health and safety management regime in place, the British Fluid Power Association (BFPA) looks at how this type of practice can be applied specifically to hydraulic hose assemblies.

It is recommended that all persons involved with fluid power systems – including designers, supervisors, operators and maintenance personnel – should be trained and assessed as to their competence. The minimum acceptable competences for particular types of work should be nominated. For example, replacing a failed hydraulic hose assembly, replacing a hydraulic cylinder, inspecting hose assemblies and associated components etc.

Records of training and assessments should be maintained and available for audit, and persons with appropriate knowledge, skills and experience should carry out the training, assessment and audit.

A typical competence profile for personnel involved with hose assemblies

The Energy Institute document ‘Guidelines for the management of flexible hose assemblies’ illustrates a typical competence profile for personnel involved with hose assemblies. This document considers the following personnel: designer, OEM/supplier, installer, maintainer, operator and inspector. However, we shall only consider the personnel who install, maintain, operate and inspect hose assemblies – these personnel are downstream of the designer and OEM/supplier. The generic job title and typical responsibilities are as follows:

Installer – responsible for ensuring that all hose assemblies are installed in accordance with the specified criteria, taking into account criteria such as:

• Orientation.

• Tightening procedures.

• Minimum bend radii.

• Routing.

• Protecting from abrasion.

Maintainer – responsible for ensuring that the system and hose assemblies are maintained in a safe operating condition, for managing any changes to the system to ensure that specifications are still appropriate and for setting out the inspection and replacement frequencies for hose assemblies.

Operator – responsible for operating the system within which the hose assemblies are installed and for reporting any problem which may occur.

Inspector – responsible for completing third-party thorough visual (and physical) examinations of the hose assembly in accordance with the criteria specified; e.g. OEM guidelines, applicable industry and/or company standards, at the specified inspection frequency – the frequency often being managed by a computer planned maintenance programme.

In some organisations one person may have responsibilities that cover more than one of these tasks within the job description/working practices.

Using the previous criteria the following generic industry definitions can apply:


The combination of the required skills, knowledge and experience that enables the person to perform their role to the required industry recognised standard/best practice.

Be able to demonstrate competence through experience, assessment and regular re-assessment to industry-recognised standards.

Have the ability to perform satisfactorily an activity to a defined industry standard/internal standard written by a specialist.

Be able to translate these standards and any other guidelines into practical actions.

Be able to identify and solve effectively – and, most importantly, safely – common technical and operational problems in the area the person is deemed to be competent in.

Have the ability to guide and advise others in technical and operational aspects in the area the person is deemed to be competent in.


Being able to interpret and evaluate information and advice from a specialist in an area of specialism (but may need some help).

Have the knowhow and ability to use correct terminology in the area the person is deemed to be knowledgeable in.

Be able to participate in an informed debate with experts within this area.

Be able to ask specific questions that test the viability of proposals in this area.


A good knowledge of what is involved in an area of specialism and its relevance to the business.

Be able to describe the main elements of an area of specialism and their importance to the business.

Have the ability to recognise how and where competences in the awareness of specialism are relevant to their own job.

More information

The above is an edited version of information included in the manual that accompanies the BFPA’s Hose Integrity, Inspection and Management course. For more information on competence assurance or the range of the Association’s hose training courses, please contact the BFPA at info@bfpatrainingacademy.co.uk, tel: 01608 647900 or visit the website at: www.bfpa.co.uk.

Additional note

The BFPA is currently running an industry Task-force in Education & Training with the purpose of establishing and reassessing the recommended minimum educational standards that should be achieved before working on hydraulic and/or pneumatic systems. The Association plans to publish the results during the Autumn of 2015.

Quick thought

Remember, just because a person has been doing a job for long time it does not necessarily make them competent.

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