As of 1 January 2012, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 is the legislation under which the health, safety and wellbeing of workers in the Territory are protected.
In April 2006 the National Standard for Licensing Persons Performing High Risk Work was declared. This in turn led to the development of a range of competency units that focus on the licence requirements for high risk work.
These competency units have been incorporated into three training packages, namely:
There are a number of important changes that the Standard introduces and those changes are explained below.
Click here for answers to a number of Frequently Asked Questions.
The commencement of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the Act) places a duty on all employers, irrespective of size, to provide workers with appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure that workers can carry out their work safely.
The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (the Regulation) includes provisions relating to the National Standard for Licensing Persons Performing High Risk Work in the ACT.
The Regulation requires that persons undertaking work which is defined as "high risk work" under that Regulation hold a High Risk Work Licence for the appropriate class to perform that work.
The definition of "scheduled work" under the old Occupational Health and Safety (Certification of Plant Users and Operators) Regulation 2000 included the operation and use of draglines, excavators and front-end loaders (including front-end loader/backhoes and front-end loaders of the skid-steer type) to carry out loadshifting work.
The operation of this type of plant is not included in the High Risk Work Licensing System. For information on the requirements to carry out loadshifting work in the ACT using this type of plant, refer to "Requirements for Loadshifting Work", below.
The High Risk Work Licensing Classes
Click here for a list of the high risk work licensing classes and information about the type of work authorised under each class of work in the High Risk Work Licensing System.
1) A person who carries out high risk work in either of the following circumstances is not required to be licensed:
(a) work carried out—
(i) in the course of training towards a certification in order to be licensed to carry out the high risk work; and
(ii) under the supervision of a person who is licensed to carry out the high risk work;
(b) work carried out by a person who, having applied for a licence to carry out the high riskwork on the basis of a certification, is awaiting a decision on that application.
2) A person who carries out high risk work involving plant is not required to be licensed if—
(a) the work is carried out at a workplace solely for the purpose of the manufacture, testing, trialling, installation, commissioning, maintenance, servicing, repair, alteration, demolition or disposal of the plant at that workplace or moving the plant within the workplace; and
(b) the plant is operated or used without a load except when standard weight loads with predetermined fixing points are used for calibration of the plant.
3) For the purposes of subsection (2) (a), moving does not include loading plant onto, or unloading plant from, the vehicle or equipment used to move the plant.
4) A person who carries out high risk work with a crane or hoist is not required to be licensed as a crane operator if—
(a) the work is limited to setting up or dismantling the crane or hoist; and
(b) the person carrying out the work holds a licence in relation to rigging, which qualifies the person to carry out the work.
5) A person who carries out high risk work with a heritage boiler is not required to be licensed as a boiler operator.
Recognition of Existing Certificates of Competency
Persons holding a current and valid National Certificate of Competency may carry out the same type of high risk work in the ACT that they would be authorised to carry out if that certificate were a High Risk Work Licence. However, the certificate should be converted to a High Risk Work Licence prior to the date of expiry.
If you hold an ACT National Certificate of Competency, refer to the table under "Expiry Dates for ACT Certificates of Competency" below, to see when your certificate will expire.
If you hold an interstate National Certificate of Competency, check with the workplace health and safety regulator in that State or Territory to see when your certificate will expire.
Transitional arrangements are in place for National Certificates of Competency that were issued under the repealed Occupational Health and Safety (Certification of Plant Users and Operators) Regulation 2000. Chapter 20 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 clarifies expiry dates of the Certificates of Competency and the continuing effect of repealed legislation.
Different requirements apply where the certificate holder is supervising a trainee in high risk work rather than carrying out the work themselves. Refer to "Requirements for Training in High Risk Work" below, for further information.
A Certificate of Competency will not be recognised as valid for the purpose of carrying out high risk work in the ACT if:
Carrying out high risk work without holding a current and valid High Risk Work Licence or Certificate of Competency for the appropriate class of high risk work is an offence under Section 43 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
A person conducting a business or undertaking must also ensure that any person carrying out high risk work holds a current and valid High Risk Work Licence or Certificate of Competency for the appropriate class of high risk work. Penalties of $20,000 for an indivudal or $100,000 for a body corporate apply.
Recognition of Interstate High Risk Work Licences
A High Risk Work Licence is a national licence. If you hold a current and valid High Risk Work Licence which was issued in another State or Territory, you do not need to transfer that licence to an ACT High Risk Work Licence in order to carry out the same type of high risk work in the ACT.
Similarly, if you hold an ACT High Risk Work Licence and are working elsewhere in Australia, you do not need to transfer your ACT High Risk Work Licence to an interstate licence in order to carry out the same type of high risk work in that State or Territory.
Format of High Risk Work Licences
A High Risk Work Licence is issued in the form of a small plastic card with the licence holder's photograph, signature and date of birth, similar to a driver’s licence. This will be consistent across Australia. The photo identification aims to prevent the possible fraudulent use of licences by people who are not qualified to perform high risk work.
Unlike the previous Certificates of Competency, a High Risk Work Licence must be renewed every five years. The licence will show both the date of issue and the date of expiry.
Licence holders will need to satisfy the workplace health and safety regulator that they have maintained their skills and are still competent to perform high risk work when applying for renewal of their licence.
This will provide greater confidence for people who work with a licence holder (or who engage a licence holder to perform work) that the licence holder has maintained their skills and can still safely undertake the high risk work that their licence authorises them to perform.
Requirements for Training in High Risk Work
All training in high risk work must be delivered in the form of an accredited course or unit of competency, provided by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) that has the relevant competency units added to its scope of registration.
Any RTO which intends to provide training in high risk work in the ACT must be registered with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to deliver that training.
A list of RTOs that are registered to provide training for high risk work classes can be found at www.training.gov.au
Registration with ASQA aims at ensuring that Registered Training Organisations across Australia are providing training and assessment that is consistent with nationally agreed competency units and complies with the requirements for vocational education and training under the Australian Quality Training Framework.”
Minimum Age to Apply for a High Risk Work Licence
Only persons who are 18 years or older will be able to apply for an ACT High Risk Work Licence. Applicants will be required to provide photographic identification which verifies that they are at least 18 years of age. The acceptable forms of identification are listed in the Application for high risk work licence form.
Restriction on Holding Multiple Licences
A person may not hold more than one High Risk Work Licence at any time.
When applying for an ACT High Risk Work Licence, you must identify any existing High Risk Work Licence which you already hold. You must also identify any Certificate of Competency which you already hold if that certificate is valid for the purpose of carrying out high risk work in the ACT.
You will be required to surrender any existing High Risk Work Licence and any Certificate of Competency which is valid for the purpose of carrying out high risk work in the ACT, before an ACT High Risk Work Licence will be issued to you. The ACT High Risk Work Licence will include the appropriate classes to allow you to carry out the high risk work which you were authorised to carry out under the surrendered licence or certificate.
If you are issued with an ACT High Risk Work Licence and you later apply for a new licence in another State or Territory, you will be required to advise the workplace health and safety regulator in that jurisdiction that you hold an existing ACT High Risk Work Licence.
An ACT High Risk Work Licence ceases to be valid upon the licence holder being issued with a new High Risk Work Licence from another State or Territory. The licence holder must surrender the ACT High Risk Work Licence within 14 days of the date on which the interstate licence is received.
How Do I Convert My Certificate of Competency to a High Risk Work Licence?
WorkSafe ACT no longer converts 'old style' non-photographic licenses or certificates to renewable High Risk Work licenses. If you hold an 'old style' certificate issued from the ACT and you haven't converted it to a new High Risk Work licence, you must attend a registered training organisation to undertake training and assessment to obtain a new High Risk Work Licence.
Expiry Dates for ACT Certificates of Competency
The expiry date of an ACT Certificate of Competency is determined by reference to the date of issue on the most recent version of the certificate. Check the date of issue of your certificate, and then refer to the table below:
Applying for a High Risk Work Licence
All applications for an ACT High Risk Work Licence must be made in person by the applicant at the Office of Regulatory Services (ORS) Shopfront, 255 Canberra Avenue, Fyshwick, between 9.00 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Friday (closed public holidays).
You will need to provide a completed Application for high risk work licence form.
You will also need to present at least two forms of identification (the application form lists the forms of identification that will be accepted) together with evidence of your competency to carry out high risk work, and pay the current fee.
Evidence of your competency may take the form of:
However, an existing Certificate of Competency cannot be recognised for this purpose if it is not valid on one or more of the grounds listed under "How Do I Convert My Certificate of Competency to a High Risk Work Licence?" above.
If you have provided all of the required information and you are assessed as eligible for a High Risk Work Licence, you will usually be able to obtain your licence immediately.
If you are applying to convert an interstate Certificate of Competency or High Risk Work Licence to an ACT High Risk Work Licence, it may take up to two weeks to obtain your licence, as ORS will need to verify the details of your existing certificate or licence with the issuing authority.
If ORS needs to verify the details of your existing certificate or licence with the issuing authority, you may retain your original certificate or licence until your application has been approved - you will be contacted when the ACT High Risk Work Licence is ready for collection. You will need to surrender your original certificate or licence when collecting your ACT High Risk Work Licence.
What Will My ACT High Risk Work Licence Look Like?
The front of your ACT High Risk Work Licence will include your photograph and a copy of your signature, as well as the licence number and expiry date. The back of the licence will show which classes of high risk work you may carry out under the licence.
Some classes of high risk work include (encompass) the activities of another class of work. For example, a licence for Intermediate Scaffolding (SI) also allows the licence holder to carry out work in the Basic Scaffolding (SB) class.
If your licence does not list all of the classes of work that you expect to see, click here to check whether the "missing" classes are covered by another class of high risk work which is shown on your licence.
Sample - ACT High Risk Work Licence - Front
Sample - ACT High Risk Work Licence - Back