High risk work licence training and verification of competency

For updated information relating to the information on this page go to High risk work licence.

For information on applying for high risk work licence assessor accreditation go to High risk work licence assessor accreditation

On 31 March 2022, the Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws replaced the health and safety elements of the Mines Safety and Inspection laws. For information visit www.demirs.wa.gov.au/whs

Transitional arrangements may be in place for the compliance requirements on this page.

All health and safety notifications, forms and guidance for mining and petroleum has moved to the WorkSafe website

The information below has been left for historical compliance reference purposes



What is the high risk work licence process?

Regulation 6.37 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 requires that a person must not do prescribed types of high risk work unless that person has a high risk work licence (HRWL).

High risk work includes workers involved in scaffolding, dogging and rigging work or operating cranes, forklifts, hoists and pressure equipment.

HRWLs are issued under the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996.  To obtain a HRWL a person must be trained by a registered training organisation (RTO) and be assessed by WorkSafe registered assessor. Licences are issued through WorkSafe on receipt of a successful application.

What high risk work needs to be licensed? provides further details on high risk work

What can an employer expect from high risk work licence training?

A recent audit by the Training Accreditation Council found that employer expectations regarding the experience a person receives from undertaking high risk work licence (HRWL) training, does not coincide with the outcomes specified in the national unit of competency (see What is the Training Accreditation Council audit)

To be issued with a HRWL a registered training organisation (RTO) confirms:

  • the person has completed the required unit of competency (UoC)
  • the person has been assessed as competent
  • that the assessment was conducted by a registered WorkSafe assessor.

Thus, a HRWL is evidence only that a person has completed the training and assessment as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996.

Employers should not conclude that possession of a HRWL means that the worker has the experience and skills required for specific workplace tasks or more complicated HRWL work. Even though a HRWL has been granted, there are still requirements from both the employee and employer in regards to high risk work and a HRWL.

What are the duties of an employee regarding high risk work?

Under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 (MSIA) employees are required to:

  • take reasonable care to ensure their safety and health at work
  • avoid adversely affecting the safety and health of any other person through any act or omission at work
  • co-operate with their employer and the manager of the mine in relation to the employer’s duties under the MSIA.

As a result, employees are obliged to ensure they have appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision to do work which requires a HRWL as directed by their employer. If there are doubts in this regard, then the employee has a duty to advise their employer immediately.

See section 10 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 for details on the general duties of employees

What are the duties of an employer regarding high risk work?

Employers have a duty under the mines safety and inspection legislation to:

  • satisfy themselves that the worker has the necessary experience and skills in the plant and equipment being operated, task being undertaken, the safe system of work utilised by the site and specific site and/or area hazards and controls
  • provide the information instruction and training to, and supervision of the worker/s, to enable them to perform their work in such a manner that they are not exposed to hazards.

This requires that the competency of an employee is assessed prior to assigning tasks at the mine site. This can be done through the process of verification of competency (VoC).

See regulation 4.13 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 for assessing employee competency prior to assigning tasks

See section 9 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 to find out about the general duties of employers

What is verification of competency?

Employers have the duty to ensure employees conducting work requiring a high risk work licence are competent for the specific tasks they are assigned.

Verifying competence is determining, via assessment, that a worker has correct skills, knowledge and experience to safely use plant or equipment, for a particular task, to site procedures and conditions.

Verification of competency (VOC) should be evidence-based and confirmed before work commences. Examples of verifying competency include:

Method Example
Recognition of prior learning (RPL)
  • A worker on a particular site has been doing the job for many years; however has not been assessed
  • A worker has conducted formal training elsewhere but has not been assessed
On-site recognition of current competency (RCC)
  • A worker holds competency from either on or off site assessment, however requires it to be recognised for reassessment purposes
  • A worker holds competency from off-site assessment and needs verification that the site and job-specific development of skills and knowledge is adequate
Site training and development program
  • A worker has completed the site’s formal competency training program and is ready for assessment



For further information see What is competency and how is it assessed?

Determining site-specific competency

VOC requirements must be determined by the site as competency can depend on various factors, for example:

Site factor Example
Risk of work to be undertaken Is it a task that may not be adequately covered in national training?
Previous experience of worker Has the worker held the HRWL for three years but not used it in that time, or have they only had a few days experience while getting their licence?
Known occurrences on site or in industry Reoccurrences where workers incorrectly sling loads even though it is already covered in the national assessment tool
Is it a piece of plant unknown to the worker HRWL for light forklift (LF) was obtained using a 1 tonne gas forklift on a concrete floor warehouse and they are going to use a 10 tonne diesel forklift on your site to move equipment around an uneven dirt road.



Where can I get more information?

Worksafe has further information on the following topics:


For enquiries please contact an inspector of mines
Phone: 1300 307 877
Email: Safety@dmirs.wa.gov.au


What is the Training Accreditation Council audit?

Following concerns raised by stakeholders, including the department and other industry members, the Training Accreditation Council conducted the Strategic Industry Audit into Units of Competency that lead to High Risk Work Licences in Western Australia.

Inspectors from the department assisted in the audit process. The outcomes from the audit were released in May 2016.

The Strategic Industry Audit into Units of Competency that lead to High Risk Work Licences in Western Australia is available from the Training Accreditation Council.