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Date PostedSeptember 25, 2013

Importance of ensuring your workers have the appropriate licenses

Earlier this year a company was fined $10,000 for allowing workers to perform high risk work without the appropriate licence. The incident involved an engineering company who allowed a 16 year old apprentice boilermaker to engage in dangerous work including dogging without the appropriate dogging licence. In fact even the worker supervising the apprentice was not in possession of his/her dogging license which made the situation even more serious.

The company pleaded guilty to 2 charges relating to workers engaging in dogging work without being certified to do so. The 16 year old apprentice was being taught dogging work and was carrying out various dangerous dogging tasks, yet high risk work licences cannot be given to anybody under 18 years old. And what made the incident even more serious is that none of the workers engaging in dogging work on the site had a dogging licence. To complicate matters, the young worker also suffered a terrible injury in his hand resulting in the amputation of a few of his fingers.

Once again the issue of high risk licenses have come under the spotlight. WorkCover NSW has issued a reminder to all workers and employers that licenses should be checked with them to confirm authenticity following the discovery of a number of fake licenses last month across Oz. So far 9 fake heavy licences have been discovered across Western Australia, NSW and Victoria.

Employers need to ensure that the workers they hire are appropriately trained and certified to carry out high risk tasks, if that is what they are hired to do, for this they need the appropriate, authentic license.

WorkCover NSW administers licences to verify that workers are appropriately trained to undertake dangerous work, fake licences may indicate a lack of training and skill which can result in safety incidents, injuries and possibly fatalities.  Some of this high risk work pertinent to the construction industry includes operating heavy machinery, operating explosive devices and asbestos removal.

Another vital certification for all construction workers, whether they undertake high risk work or ordinary labour is the general construction induction course, commonly known as The White Card Course.

The opportunity for injury in the construction industry is great and in fact this is one of the most dangerous industries, claiming dozens of lives across Oz each year. That is why it is essential that workers are aware of how to safely work on a construction site. It is also important that workers are aware of the regulations set by the government in order to keep them and their colleagues safe from harm – this is the purpose of the White Card!

The 4 basic sections covered by the course include how to identify workplace health and safety (WH&S) requirements, training on how to identify construction hazards and control measures;how to identify WH&S communications and reporting processes and incident response procedures.

The White Card (aka Construction Induction Card) provides workers with proof that they have completed general construction safety training and therefore have the competency to work on a construction site without jeopardizing the health and safety of their co-workers and themselves.


Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning and web strategy firm based in George St Brisbane. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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