What is a High Risk Work Licence (and how to get one)

According to WorkSafe Victoria, a high risk work (HRW) licence allows you to work with certain high risk and plant equipment such as forklifts, cranes, scaffolding, rigging and pressure equipment.

The licence covers a wide range of industries and work from operating a crane or handling pipe lifting equipment to working at heights in a warehouse or on a construction site.

While different qualifications are involved for different kinds of work and handling different machinery, HRW licences are used to assess your competency to carry out or supervise high risk, hazardous or dangerous work or operate or supervise the operation of certain heavy machinery. A HRW licence is necessary to satisfy WHS requirements and in some cases to qualify for professional liability insurance.

Under the Australian model Work Health and Safety regulations, you cannot carry out high risk work unless you are over the age of 18 and hold the appropriate HRW licence. If you already hold a HRW licence issued in another state or territory, then you may need to make sure it’s recognised in the state or territory you want to work in.

So let’s a closer look at what a high risk work licence covers and how to get one.

pipe lifting equipment

What is high risk work?

High risk work covers a range of industries and work types. It can involve operating heavy, potentially dangerous machinery, working at heights, working with hazardous materials, or working in a hazardous environment, like cold storage.

These are some of the types of work that are considered high risk:

  • Scaffolding
  • Dogging and rigging
  • Boiler, turbine and steam engine operation
  • Crane operation and erection
  • Hoist and stacker operation
  • Forklift driving
  • Working at heights
  • Demolition or construction site work
  • Handling hazardous materials like explosive or asbestos
  • Electrical installation

What industries require HRW licences?

HRW licences are applicable to a wide range of industries including:

  • Agriculture
  • Automotive
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Transport, logistics and warehousing
  • Waste and recycling
  • Demolition
  • Electrical and plumbing
  • Excavation
  • Scaffolding
  • Metal fabrication

Before applying for a HRW licence

Before you apply for the necessary HRW licence, you need to ensure you have the right qualification. For example, if you’re going to apply for a HRW forklift licence, then you need a LF forklift truck operation licence. These qualifications are delivered around Australia through registered training organisations (RTOs). The Department of Education and Training provides complete information on the qualifications available and where you can enrol.

How to apply for a HRW licence

Once you have the necessary qualification, you will be eligible for HRW assessment. Once you have your qualification and notice of satisfactory assessment, you will be eligible to apply for a HRW licence.

To apply, you need to submit your HRW licence application with your local WHS regulator. The application must be made within 60 days of receiving your qualification.

Your application must include:

  • Proof of identity documents (including proof of name and address, a photo of you and proof of age)
  • A copy of your qualification certification
  • The class of HRW licence you are applying for
  • Payment of the application fee

You will also be required to make certain declarations. These include whether you:

  • Hold other HRW licences
  • Have a criminal record
  • Have previously been refused a HRW licence
  • Have ever held a HRW licence that has been cancelled

Other HRW licence applications

You can also apply to renew an existing HRW licence and transfer an interstate licence.

A HRW licence will remain valid for five years from the day it is granted. Before the expiry date, you will receive a renewal notification. If a licence isn’t renewed within 12 months of the expiry date, it will no longer be valid. In that case, you will need to redo your qualification for your HRW licence before you can re-apply.

For further details on applying for a HRW licence, you can contact your local Work Health and Safety regulator or Safe Work Australia.

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Jared Kesselring

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