Information on the registration and role of High Risk Work Licence (HRWL) Assessors

This publication is for: 
Employee / workerEmployer

Persons wishing to obtain a HRWL must be assessed by a WorkSafe registered HRWL assessor for the class of HRWL required.  The assessment is conducted using a nationally approved assessment instrument for the particular class of HRWL.

HRWL assessors as public officers

A HRWL assessor is expected to operate within the limits of the Public Service codes of conduct and code of ethics.

There is an expectation that the assessor will correctly mark assessment papers with fairness and equity. If an applicant fails an assessment they are required to receive further training and undergo re- assessment.  

Accepting or seeking bribes or any other inducement to ensure that a candidate passes a HRWL assessment is prohibited.

The candidate provides personal information about themselves to prove age and identity. Copies of these documents must be retained securely and not disclosed.

Penalties available for breaches of HRWL conditions

There are numerous penalties that may be imposed on HRWL assessors if they are found to be involved in fraudulent or corrupt behaviour.  Depending on the seriousness of the misconduct, these penalties range from a warning letter; suspension of the HRWL assessor status for a period of time if they are found to have lost competency; refusal to renew an assessor status when renewal becomes due; cancellation of the HRWL assessor status; and in extreme situations, forwarding the matter to the Corruption and Crime Commission for investigation with potential for criminal proceedings.


Persons wishing to obtain a HRWL must be assessed by a WorkSafe registered HRWL assessor for the class of HRWL required.  The assessment is conducted using a nationally approved assessment instrument for the particular class of HRWL.

The Notice of Satisfactory Assessment is the document that is submitted to WorkSafe to obtain a HRWL.

Assessor registration

A person wishing to become a HRWL assessor must meet certain criteria including:

  • Hold a HRWL for a minimum of three years for the class they wish to be registered;
  • Have extensive and recent operating experience in that class of HRWL, as a senior operator or supervisor (minimum of 3 years);
  • Have completed a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment;
  • Demonstrate a sound knowledge of occupational safety and health legislation and Australian Standards as they relate to the HRWL class they seek registration for; and
  • Successfully pass a written examination and interview conducted by WorkSafe.

An applicant for registration as a HRWL assessor may apply for more than one class of HRWL providing they meet the above criteria for each class.

Registered Training Organisation (RTO)

A HRWL Assessor must be aligned to a RTO.  Some HRWL Assessors are themselves a RTO.  This national qualification is administrated by the Training and Accreditation Council in the Education system.

The RTO must be scoped to train in the class of HRWL held by the HRWL Assessor.  The HRWL Assessor may be aligned to more than one RTO.

Auditing of HRWL Assessors

HRWL Assessors are subject to auditing by a WorkSafe audit and compliance investigator, at least once in the registration cycle (3 years).  The audit is to ensure that the assessor is complying with the conditions of their registration including:  

  • Sighting photographic documentary evidence of the applicants identity and age;
  • The applicant is enrolled with a RTO for training in the HRWL class;
  • Written examination papers are available for audit to ensure compliance with the relevant assessment instrument;
  • Notices of assessment are completed in accordance with the directives listed in the assessment book; and
  • Assessments are only carried out for HRWL classes that the assessor is registered for.


Training and assessment of HRWLs (formerly Certificates of Competency) was originally undertaken by highly trained, experienced WorkSafe inspectors.  A review of these activities highlighted that training was not part of Department’s core activities and it was resolved to outsource this training and assessment to the private sector.

Status of HRWL Assessors

WorkSafe registered HRWL assessors conduct Vocational Education and Training assessments on behalf of WorkSafe that results in the issuing of a Notice of Satisfactory Assessment. This is the only document issued by the HRWL assessor, required for WorkSafe to issue a HRWL.  Because HRWL assessors are registered to perform a legislative function, they are deemed to be a public officer.

Public officer

A Public officer is 'A person other than an employee, who contracts with a public authority to perform a public function'.

Public servants are public officers and are bound by various codes that cover areas such as: personal behaviour; fraudulent and corrupt behaviour; secure record keeping and use of information;

Not all of these obligations of a Public servant apply to HRWL assessors that are deemed to be public officers.

Last updated 11 Nov 2019

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