High risk work licensing - Workers obligations

This bulletin outlines the requirements a worker has under the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 and Regulations 2011 - the WHS (NUL) Act and Regulations - for ensuring the licensing of workers who perform high risk work.

Licensing of workers aims to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to perform high risk work in a safe manner so to reduce the health and safety risk to themselves and other persons in the workplace.

Requirement to be licensed

It is an offence under the Act for an unlicensed worker to carry out high risk work which requires a licence (Section 43).

Certain exemptions (Regulation 82), allow an unlicensed individual to perform certain high risk work when the:

  • high risk work is carried out in the course of training towards a certification in order to obtain a high risk licence and the work is done under the supervision of an individual with a licence in that class of high risk work; or
  • high risk work is carried out by an individual who has received their certification for completing high risk work training and is waiting for a decision on their licence application; or
  • high risk work involves plant at a workplace and
    • the work carried out is solely for the purpose of the manufacture, testing, trialing, installation, commissioning, maintenance, servicing, repair, alteration, demolition or disposal of the plant at that workplace or moving the plant within the workplace; and
    • the plant is operated or used without a load except for calibration purposes; or
  • high risk work with a crane or hoist that is limited to setting up or dismantling the crane or hoist and the individual carrying out the work is licensed in rigging; or
  • high risk work carried out on a heritage boiler.

Note: The exemption for moving plant within the workplace includes loading plant onto or unloading it from a vehicle or equipment used to move the plant.

Inspection of licence

A licence holder must have their licence available for inspection by an inspector unless the card has been returned to NT WorkSafe for amendment (Regulation 94).

Notice required for change of address

A licence holder must give written notice to NT WorkSafe if they change their postal or residential address. The licence holder must do this within 14 days of the change occurring (Regulation 96).

Return of licence

If requested in writing by NT WorkSafe, the licence holder must return the licence to NT WorkSafe for amendment within the time specified in the request (Regulation 97).

Replacement licence

A licence holder must give written notice to NT WorkSafe as soon as possible if the licence is lost, stolen or destroyed. A licence holder may apply for a replacement licence (Regulation 98).

Renewal of an expiring licence

A person whose high risk work licence is due to expire must make an application for renewal before the expiry date. The application must be made on the required form and all information requested must be provided.

A person’s licence is still considered valid and the worker is still able to continue high risk work if their licence expires while they are waiting for a decision on their renewal application (Regulation 101).

Renewal of an expired licence

A person whose high risk work licence has expired may apply for a renewal of that licence if the licence has not been expired for more than 12 months. If the renewal application was made after the licence expired, the worker cannot carry out any work covered by the licence until the licence has been renewed.
An application to renewal a licence that has been expired for more than 12 months can be made if a person can satisfy NT WorkSafe that exceptional circumstances exist (Regulation 103). This provision is only valid for high risk licence issued after 1 July 2012. If a decision has been made to refuse the renewal of a licence, a person will need to make an application for a new licence and meet all the requirements in the licence application (i.e. evidence of training).

NT WorkSafe’s decision to refuse a renewal of a licence is a reviewable decision (Regulation 676).

Changes to supervision of high risk work

The only time an unlicensed worker can carry out high risk work under the supervision of a worker with the relevant licence, is via a structured training program, formulated by the Registered Training Organisation (RTO), undertaken to obtain a licence.