High Risk Work Licence Training Duties

In May 2016, the Training Accreditation Council conducted the Strategic Industry Audit into Units of Competency that lead to High Risk Work Licences in Western Australia (the audit). 


The audit included:

  • advice that the training and assessment for a High Risk Work Licence (HRWL) are not “intended to provide employers with an indication of the depth and breadth of experience the candidate has in application of the skill in the workplace”; and
  • Recommendation 7 (Page 48) for the Training Accreditation Council to request that relevant Western Australian Training Councils liaise with WorkSafe to develop a communications strategy  that explains to employers:
    • the competency outcomes to be expected from HRWL training including the basic threshold for HRWLs; and
    • employer responsibility for site and job specific development of employee skills. 

An HRWL is evidence that a person has completed the training specified in the relevant Unit of Competency and has been assessed against the National Assessment Instrument.  The Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (the OSH regulations) establish an HRWL as a threshold qualification which is required before a person can do HRWL work.

Employer duties

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (the OSH Act), it is the employer who has the duty to provide information, instruction and training to, and supervision of, employees as is necessary to enable the employees to perform their work in such a manner that they are not exposed to hazards.  Employers have the duty to:

  • satisfy themselves that the worker has the necessary experience, skills or competency to do work tasks; and / or
  • provide the information instruction and training to, and supervision of, which enables the employees to perform their work in such a manner that they are not exposed to hazards. 

It is also important to recognise that inexperienced workers (young workers in particular) look to the more skilled workers to model their behaviour.  The more skilled workers and workplace supervisors should be aware of their influence by engaging with young workers and providing a culture that includes workplace safety as a key feature.

Employees duties

Also under the OSH Act, employees are required to:

  • take reasonable care to ensure their safety and health at work;
  • avoid adversely affecting the safety and health of others at the workplace; and
  • co-operate with their employer in relation to the employer’s duties under the OSH Act.

If employees have concerns about their ability to perform specific tasks, the employees also have a duty to discuss the work requirements with their employers.  In turn, the employers are obliged to ensure workers have appropriate training and supervision to do work which requires an HRWL. 

High Risk Work Licence Process

High risk work, as identified in Schedule 6.3 of the OSH regulations, includes workers:

  • involved in scaffolding, dogging and rigging work; and
  • operating cranes, forklifts, hoists and pressure equipment.

To be issued with an HRWL, the OSH regulations also require that:

  • a Registered Training Organisation confirms the person has completed the required Unit of Competency and been assessed as competent;
  • the assessment is conducted by a Registered WorkSafe HRWL Assessor; and
  • the assessment is conducted using the appropriate National Assessment Instrument. 

National Assessment Instruments have been developed for each Unit of Competency and require knowledge, calculation (for most classes) and performance assessments. 

  • The knowledge assessment includes a number of questions related to the knowledge and skills required to operate safely in a workplace.
  • For HRWLs classes where there is a requirement to perform arithmetic calculations, a calculations assessment is included in the assessment instrument.  This involves a number of questions based on simulated workplace examples. 
  • For all HRWL classes, there is a performance observation assessment that involves observation of the candidate performing the tasks that are required in the workplace to the standard outlined in the Unit of Competency.  Candidates must safely and competently complete all the requirements identified on the observation checklist.  All assessments of performance must be undertaken in the workplace and /or under realistic workplace conditions. 

WorkSafe High Risk Work Licence Assessor - Registration Requirements

To become a Registered WorkSafe HRWL Assessor, candidates must submit an application to WorkSafe and demonstrate they:

  • hold the HRWL for the class to be registered; 
  • have extensive and recent operating experience in that class of HRWL, as a senior operator or supervisor; 
  • have completed a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment; 
  • have a sound knowledge of occupational safety and health legislation and Australian Standards as they relate to the HRWL class;
  • pass written examination/s and an interview conducted by WorkSafe, and
  • have the necessary Police Clearance.
High Risk Work Licence Training Duties, by Department of Commerce - WorkSafe division

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