WorkSafe HRWL Assessor Seminar 2016 - National Assessment Instruments issues raised

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In February/March 2016, the WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner and senior WorkSafe officers presented a number of seminars, in the metropolitan area and three regional locations, to registered High Risk Work Licence (HRWL) assessors (assessors).  

During the seminars, assessors asked a number of questions which required research by WorkSafe.  Listed below is WorkSafe’s advice in relation to these questions.

1. Can Performance Assessments be completed prior to the Knowledge and Calculations  Assessments?


Before conducting the Performance Assessments, assessors must be satisfied that candidates have the required underpinning theoretical knowledge to operate or use the plant or undertake the work. 

Each National Assessment instrument (NAI) provides instruction in the Assessor Version to the assessor that Non critical questions identified as incorrect in the Knowledge Assessment are to be retested at appropriate points in the Performance Assessment.  This can only occur if Knowledge and Calculation Assessments are conducted before the Performance Assessment.

2. Why were changes to the NAIs suggested by the NAI Reference Groups ignored, why is it that NAIs are still not correct and can terms used in the NAIs be amended in order to be readily understood by HRWL candidates?

The seminar comments indicated that the national consultation process for developing the NAIs did not adequately address issues identified by  assessors.  Advice from Safe Work Australia indicates that changes suggested by the NAI Reference Groups were considered.  However, the HRWLs are a national scheme with stakeholders from other states and territories also having input into NAIs.  At the national level, other stakeholders had different views and as a result not all suggestions from the NAI Reference Groups were adopted.

WorkSafe appreciates that assessors have strong views about the NAIs and will make representations to Safe Work Australia to resolve the issues raised at the seminars.   

3. Can assessors supervise another person supervising an HRWL assessment?


The Assessor Version of the NAIs states “The assessor MUST supervise the candidate at all times during the assessment.”

4. When can reassessments be undertaken?

The Assessor Version (Part 1: Knowledge assessment, under the Multiple part questions and Non-critical questions heading) of the NAIs advises that if the pass mark is achieved but some non-critical questions are not answered correctly, assessors are required to provide feedback to the candidate that these questions will be asked again at the Performance Assessment. 

The Mandated National Assessments Instruments – Guide for Assessors, at section 6.2 Reassessment:

  1. provides the following information:

“All candidates must be provided with an opportunity for reassessment when they have been assessed as ‘not yet competent’ on all or any part of the assessment.

Verbal confirmations undertaken during the initial assessment event do not constitute a ‘reassessment’.

The assessor and candidate need to discuss the assessment outcome and decide on the appropriate course of action to be undertaken by the candidate prior to a reassessment.  This may include:

  • Further training
  • Further workplace experience.

Guidelines for reassessment include:

Candidates undertaking a reassessment within two calendar months of the initial assessment will only be required to complete the section of the assessment in which they were assessed as not yet competent.

In this instance, RTOs should strive to ensure that the same assessor undertakes the assessment

Candidates who undertake an assessment two calendar months after the initial assessment are required to re-take the whole assessment.

All re-assessments must be undertaken within 12 calendar months, or the candidate will be required to undertake the training again.”

  1. does not impose minimum time for reassessments or have a requirement for the assessments to be done the next day. 

5. What notes on the NAI are required to identify that a candidate has changed their answer before being marked by an assessor?

If answers are changed by candidates during an assessment and before the assessor marks the NAI, assessors should make notations on the NAI:

  • identifying the correct answer; and
  • confirming the change was made by the candidate before the assessment was marked. 

6. If  assessors are aware from previous experience that certain questions in the NAI are misunderstood by candidates, can the assessor clarify the question during the reading time?

Yes.  However, the advice must not lead candidates to the answer.   

The Assessor Versions of the NAIs advise that during the reading time, candidates are allowed to ask questions about the meaning or interpretation of the questions contained in the assessment. 

Rather than discuss questions during the reading time, concerns about particular questions should be addressed during the training of a candidate.

7. During the marking process for Knowledge and Calculation, can the assessor discuss incorrect answers with a candidate, and then depending on the discussions and provision of a correct answer, mark the question as correct? 


Only non-critical questions that have not been articulated correctly should be discussed as part of the assessment. Clarification is not to be sort for questions that are clearly not correct on the first attempt.  Re-assessments must be carried out consistent with the requirements of the Assessor Version of the NAIs and the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015. 

8. Can an assessor use a red pen on NAIs?


WorkSafe does not require any particular pen colour when marking the National Assessment Instruments (NAIs).

9. Does Western Australia require a reach stacker HRWL to operate a reach stacker?

The OSH regulations do not identify a reach stacker as an HRWL class.  However, some Reach stackers satisfy the definition of the non-slewing mobile crane (CN) HRWL class.  In these circumstances, a CN HRWL is required.  

10. Can the assessments for performance, knowledge and calculations elements for a single candidate be done by more than one assessor? 


Each assessor will have to complete a separate Notice of Assessment for the elements they conduct and provide a brief explanation in the Comments Section. 

11. What does ‘moderation’ mean?

In the Assessor Version of the NAIs, Part 1: Knowledge assessment, under the Assessment judgement heading, there is advice that “If an assessor and/or Registered Training Organisation (RTO) believes that there is an addition or different response that could be applied to any of the questions, this information should be put forward at moderation of these assessment instruments”.  Moderation in this context means the review conducted by Safe Work Australia in relation to the NAIs.

Consistent with the advice provided by WorkSafe, if you identify errors in the NAIs, please forward the details to Safe Work Australia for consideration at   

12. When will the UOCs and NAIs be updated for boiler classes?

The model Work Health and Safety laws reduced the number of boiler (pressure vessel) classes from three to two.  As a result, new UOCs and NAIs have been introduced in those states and territories which have adopted the model WHS laws. 

The OSH regulations still refer to three classes.

It is anticipated that the UOCs and NAIs will be updated once the WA government decides on adoption of the WHS laws.  

13. What happens if an assessor identifies a gap between the NAIs and the UOC?

This issue should be taken up with the assessor’s RTO.  Under the requirements of the Standards for Registered Training  Organisations (RTOs) 2015, RTOs are required to ensure assessment of the whole UOC. 

14.Can an Assessment Summary be included in the Candidate Version of the NAIs?

WorkSafe has suggested to Safe Work Australia that an Assessment Summary is re-established in the next Candidate Version of the NAIs. 

15. Are there limits on the class sizes?

The OSH regulations, Conditions of Registration and NAI’s do not impose limits on class sizes for HRWL courses. 

16. Can a person with a hearing impairment by assessed for an HRWL?

The OSH regulations and NAIs do not prevent persons with a hearing impairment from obtaining an HRWL. 

However, there is a general duty to ensure that so far as practicable systems of work do not expose employees and persons at the workplace to hazards and persons are not adversely affected. 

17. Are there any limitations on WA assessors conducting assessments in other states or territories? 

WA assessors are required to comply with their Conditions of Registration and the OSH regulations. 

The OSH regulations do not prevent assessments in other jurisdictions by WA registered assessors.  However, assessors still have to comply with any requirements imposed by other Australian States and Territories. 

18. When will new Notice of Assessment books, with correct references to the Standards for RTOs 2015, be provided to assessors?

The Notice of Assessment books will be updated at the next reprint.  This is not expected to occur until towards the end of this year.


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