Certificate III in Process Plant Operations

The Certificate III in Process Plant Operations has been developed as a technical qualification for use in the Chemical, Hydrocarbons and Refining Training Package (PMA08).

Job roles/employment outcomes

The Certificate III in Process Plant Operation is intended for advanced operators and operations technicians who use production equipment to directly produce products. At this level, operators/technicians would undertake more advanced operations, typically of integrated plant units in accordance with the operating procedures, and would apply their knowledge to anticipate problems. They would be expected to solve a range of foreseen and unforeseen problems, using product and process knowledge to develop solutions to problems which do not have a known solution, or a solution recorded in the procedures.

The Certificate III in Process Manufacturing MSA30107 is available for production support employees at this level and should be used where the job requirements do not allow for the development of competency in sufficient technical units of competency. The Certificate III in Competitive Manufacturing MCM30104 is available for employees at this level where the job requires sophisticated manufacturing practice skills rather than technical skills.

This qualification is typically used to develop employees performing an advanced operational role that includes an ability to work independently and conduct technical problem solving according to the needs of the work in the chemical, hydrocarbons or refining sectors.

Operators may specialise in one of the following areas:

fine chemicals

heavy chemicals


polymer manufacture

hydrocarbon extraction

hydrocarbon transmission

hydrocarbon processing/refining

minerals processing/refining

metals smelting/processing

other related areas.

Specialisations must be reflected by the selection of units identified for specialised streams.

Training programs for this qualification are suitable to be undertaken as part of a formal training contract with an employer under an Australian Traineeship or Apprenticeship arrangement.


To be awarded the Certificate III in Process Plant Operations competency must be achieved in twenty one (21) units of competency chosen:

five (5) core units of competency

sixteen (16) elective units of competency as specified below.


Where prerequisite units apply, these must be considered in the total number of units chosen.

Core units of competency

Unit code

Unit title

add topic MSAENV272B

Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices

add topic MSAPMOHS110A

Follow emergency response procedures

add topic MSAPMOHS200A

Work safely

add topic MSAPMSUP100A

Apply workplace procedures

add topic MSAPMSUP102A

Communicate in the workplace

Elective units of competency

Select sixteen (16) units as specified below:

A minimum of two (2) from Group A

The remainder may be chosen from Groups A, B and C (with a maximum of twelve (12) from Group C) to bring the total number of electives to sixteen (16).

Note that up to four (4) of the elective units can be chosen from other qualifications in this Training Package, other endorsed Training Packages and accredited courses, as specified in Groups B and C.

Group A Specialist electives

Unit code

Unit title



Monitor the implementation of Good Manufacturing Practice procedures

add topic MEM07033B

Operate and monitor basic boiler

add topic MEM07034A

Operate and monitor intermediate class boiler

add topic MEM07033B

add topic MEM18011C

Shutdown and Isolate Machine

add topic NWP357B

Monitor, operate and control reverse osmosis and nano-filtration processes

add topic PMAOPS300B

Operate a production unit

add topic PMAOPS301B

Produce products by distillation

add topic PMAOPS201B

Co-requisite unit add topic PMAOPS205B

add topic PMAOPS302B

Operate reactors and reaction equipment

add topic PMAOPS303B

Operate furnaces to induce reaction

add topic PMAOPS304B

Operate and monitor compressor systems and equipment

Co-requisite unit

add topic PMAOPS221B

add topic PMAOPS305B

Operate process control systems

add topic PMAOPS307B

Transfer bulk fluids into/out of storage facility

add topic PMAOPS201B

add topic PMAOPS308B

Organise storage and logistics of general materials

add topic PMAOPS309B

Operate particulates handling/ storage equipment

add topic PMAOPS312B

Undertake ship loading/unloading operations

add topic PMAOPS319A

Adjust batch

add topic PMAOPS320B

Conduct artificial lift

add topic PMAOPS321B

Undertake well management

add topic PMAOPS323A

Operate and monitor heating furnace

add topic PMAOPS324A

Operate a gas turbine

add topic PMAOPS325B

Generate electrical power

add topic PMAOPS326B

Produce product using gas absorption

add topic PMAOPS327B

Produce product using fixed bed dehydration

add topic PMAOPS329B

Produce product using liquid extraction

add topic PMAOPS330B

Communicate pipeline control centre operations

add topic PMAOPS333A

Operate wells and gathering systems

add topic PMAOPS335A

Conduct pipeline pigging

add topic PMAOPS340B

Operate cryogenic processes

add topic PMAOPS350B

Match and adjust colour

add topic PMAOPS390B

Operate a biochemical process

add topic UEPOPS340A

Operate and Monitor a Steam Turbine

One (1) unit may be chosen from Group A in PMA40108 Certificate IV in Process Plant Technology

Group B

Unit code

Unit title


add topic MEM09003B

Prepare basic engineering drawing

add topic MEM09002B

add topic MSAPMOHS300A

Facilitate the implementation of OHS for a work group

add topic MSAPMOHS200A

add topic MSAPMPER300C

Issue work permits

add topic RIIRIS201A

add topic MSAPMSUP300A

Identify and implement opportunities to maximise production efficiencies

add topic MSAPMSUP200A

add topic MSAPMSUP301A

Apply HACCP to the workplace

add topic MSAPMSUP303A

Identify equipment faults

add topic MSAPMSUP309A

Maintain and organise workplace records

add topic MSAPMSUP310A

Contribute to development of plant documentation

add topic MSAPMSUP330A

Develop and adjust a production schedule

add topic MSAPMSUP382A

Provide coaching/mentoring in the workplace

add topic MSAPMSUP383A

Facilitate a team

add topic MSAPMSUP390A

Use structured problem solving tools

add topic PMAOHS310B

Investigate incidents

add topic PMAOHS311B

Lead emergency teams

add topic PMAOHS312B

Command the operation of survival craft

add topic MSAPMOHS220A

add topic PMAOHS320C

Provide advanced first aid response

add topic MSAPMOHS220A

add topic PMAOHS321B

Provide first aid response in remote and/or isolated area

add topic MSAPMOHS220A

add topic PMAOMIR301B

Undertake initial rescue


add topic PMAOMIR302B

Respond to a helideck incident

add topic PMAOMIR317B

Facilitate search and rescue operations

add topic PMAOMIR320B

Manage incident response information

add topic PMAOMIR321B

Manage communication systems during an incident

add topic PMAOMIR346B

Assess and secure an incident site

add topic PMASUP305A

Operate Offshore Cranes

add topic PMASUP311A

Operate communications hub

add topic PMASUP341B

Monitor and maintain instrument and control systems

add topic MSAPMPER300C

add topic PMASUP342B

Monitor and maintain electrical systems

add topic MSAPMPER300C

add topic PMASUP343B

Monitor and maintain cathodic protection systems

add topic PMASUP344B

Monitor and control repairs and modifications on operational pipe

add topic PMASUP345A

Monitor vibration

add topic PMASUP346A

Control corrosion

add topic PMASUP347A

Undertake corrosion inspection in a petrochemical environment

add topic PMLTEST300B

Perform basic tests

add topic PSPGOV308B

Work effectively with diversity

add topic TAEASS301A

Contribute to assessment

add topic TAEDEL301A

Provide work skill instruction

Up to one (1) relevant unit may be chosen from this Training Package, other endorsed Training Packages and accredited courses where the unit is available at Certificates III or IV.

Group C

Unit code

Unit title



Follow work procedures to maintain Good Manufacturing Practice


Implement Good Manufacturing Practice procedures

add topic MEM05012C

Perform routine manual metal arc welding

add topic MEM09002B

Interpret technical drawing

add topic MEM11001C

Undertake manual handling

add topic MEM16005A

Operate as a team member to conduct manufacturing, engineering or related activities

add topic MSACMS201A

Sustain process improvements

add topic MSACMT230A

Apply cost factors to work practices

add topic MSACMT231A

Interpret product costs in terms of customer requirements

add topic MSACMT240A

Apply 5S procedures in a manufacturing environment

add topic MSACMT250A

Monitor process capability

add topic MSACMT251A

Apply quality standards

add topic MSACMT260A

Use planning software systems in manufacturing

add topic MSACMT270A

Use sustainable energy practices

add topic MSACMT271A

Use sustainable environmental practices

add topic MSACMT280A

Undertake root cause analysis

add topic MSACMT281A

Contribute to the application of a proactive maintenance strategy

add topic MSAPMOHS100A

Follow OHS procedures

add topic MSAPMOHS205A

Control minor incidents

add topic MSAPMOHS210B

Undertake first response to non-fire incidents

add topic MSAPMOHS212A

Undertake first response to fire incidents

add topic MSAPMOHS216A

Operate breathing apparatus

add topic MSAPMOHS217A

Gas test atmospheres

add topic MSAPMOHS220A

Provide initial first aid response

add topic MSAPMOPS100A

Use equipment

add topic MSAPMOPS102A

Perform tasks to support production

add topic MSAPMOPS200A

Operate equipment

add topic MSAPMOPS212A

Use enterprise computers or data systems

add topic MSAPMPER200C

Work in accordance with an issued permit

add topic MSAPMPER201A

Monitor and control work permits

add topic MSAPMPER202A

Observe permit work

add topic MSAPMPER200C

add topic MSAPMPER205C

Enter confined space

add topic MSAPMPER200C

add topic MSAPMSUP101A

Clean workplace or equipment

add topic MSAPMSUP106A

Work in a team

add topic MSAPMSUP172A

Identify and minimise environmental hazards

add topic MSAPMSUP200A

Achieve work outcomes

add topic MSAPMSUP201A

Receive or despatch goods

add topic MSAPMSUP204A

Pack products or materials

add topic MSAPMSUP205A

Transfer loads

add topic MSAPMSUP210A

Process and record information

add topic MSAPMSUP240A

Undertake minor maintenance

add topic MSAPMSUP280A

Manage conflict at work

add topic MSAPMSUP291A

Participate in continuous improvement

add topic MSAPMSUP292A

Sample and test materials and product

add topic MSL952001A

Collect routine site samples

add topic PMAOHS211B

Prepare equipment for emergency response

add topic PMAOHS213B

Undertake fire control and emergency rescue

add topic PMAOHS214B

Undertake helicopter safety and escape

add topic PMAOHS215B

Apply offshore facility abandonment and sea survival procedures

add topic PMAOHS221B

Maintain first aid supplies and records

add topic PMAOMIR210B

Control evacuation to muster point

add topic PMAOPS101C

Read dials and indicators

add topic PMAOPS105C

Select and prepare materials

add topic PMAOPS201B

Operate fluid flow equipment

add topic PMAOPS202B

Operate fluid mixing equipment

add topic PMAOPS203B

Handle goods

add topic PMAOPS204B

Use utilities and services

add topic PMAOPS205B

Operate heat exchangers

add topic PMAOPS206B

Operate separation equipment

add topic PMAOPS207B

Operate powered separation equipment

add topic PMAOPS208B

Operate chemical separation equipment

add topic PMAOPS210B

Operate particulates handling equipment

add topic PMAOPS211B

Operate manufacturing extruders

add topic PMAOPS213B

Package product/material

add topic PMAOPS216B

Operate local control system

add topic PMAOPS217B

Operate wet milling equipment

add topic PMAOPS220B

Monitor chemical reactions in the process

add topic PMAOPS221B

Operate and monitor prime movers

add topic PMAOPS222B

Operate and monitor pumping systems and equipment

Co-requisite unit

add topic PMAOPS221B

add topic PMAOPS223B

Operate and monitor valve systems

add topic PMAOPS224B

Provide fluids for utilities and support

add topic PMAOPS230B

Monitor, operate and maintain pipeline stations and equipment

add topic PMAOPS231B

Control gas odourisation

add topic PMAOPS232B

Produce product by filtration

add topic PMAOPS233A

Monitor wells and gathering systems

add topic PMAOPS234A

Monitor and operate low pressure compressors

add topic PMAOPS240B

Store liquids in bulk

add topic PMAOPS241A

Operate Joule-Thomson effect device

add topic PMAOPS280B

Interpret process plant schematics


    Pathways into the qualification

    This qualification may be accessed by direct entry. Credit may be granted towards this qualification by those who have completed MSA20107 Certificate II in Process Manufacturing, PMA20110 Certificate II in Process Plant Operation or other relevant qualifications. Credit for this qualification may also include units contained within relevant skill sets.

    Pathways from the qualification

    Further training pathways from this qualification include PMA40110 Certificate IV in Process Plant Technology, MSA41108 Certificate IV in Competitive Manufacturing or MSA40108 Certificate IV in Manufacturing Technology or other relevant qualifications.

    Additional qualification advice

    An industry specialisation should include a range of units (typically production or other units relevant to the specialisation) that focus more on the industry speciality than a generic qualification.

    MSA30107 Certificate III in Process Manufacturing, in the MSA07 Manufacturing Training Package is available for production support employees at this level and should be used where the job requirements do not allow for the development of competency in sufficient technical units of competency.

    MSA31108 Certificate III in Competitive Manufacturing is available for employees at this level who already possess technical skills and who require additional manufacturing practice skills above those available in this qualification.

Entry Requirements

Not applicable.

Licensing Information

There are no specific licences that relate to this qualification. However, in some jurisdictions some units of competency in this qualification may have licensing or regulatory requirements. Local regulations should be checked for details.

Employability Skills

Employability Skill

Industry/enterprise requirements for this qualification include:


maintain communication about multiple subjects and with multiple audiences

complete incident and other reports

use technical information and manufacturer's information

collect, analyse & organise information

communicate ideas and information

use and contribute to workplace documentation

maintain workplace records


identify and describe own role and role of other

work within a team

resolve conflicts between team members

teamwork strategies


recognise a problem or a potential problem in a plant unit, system or area.

determine problems needing priority action.

refer problems outside area of responsibility to appropriate person, with possible causes.

identify appropriate theory base for problem

seek information and assistance as required to solve problems.

solve problems within area of responsibility for plant unit, system or area.

follow through items initiated until final resolution has occurred.

identify and isolate faults in equipment

use a range of formal problem solving techniques

Initiative and enterprise

identify the most appropriate process conditions for unit, system or area

make adjustments to improve performance of unit, system or area

anticipate the impact of the process on the product and other process areas

determine problems needing action

recommend required action

report problems outside area of responsibility

distinguish between causes of faults

Planning and organising

priortise actions to achieve required outcomes for unit, system or area

plan own work requirements and assist others to plan theirs

plan scope of unit, system or plant area checks

plan and organise activities

identify tasks to achieve team goals.

organise allocation of tasks.

monitor completion of allocated tasks

develop and adjust a production schedule


plan own work requirements from production requests

operate within appropriate time constraints and work standards

select and use appropriate equipment, materials, processes and procedures

plan to ensure effective production

apply workplace procedures

identify resource requirements, document and monitor

recognise limitations and seek timely advice


ask questions to gain information

identify sources of information to expand knowledge and understanding

participate in improvement procedures

participate in development of continuous improvement strategies

helps others develop competency


operation and adjustment of unit, system or plant area processes

start up and shut down unit, system or plant area

set up unit, equipment or plant area

monitor product/process quality

function and operating principles of unit, system or plant area

maintain workplace records