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Certain types of work can be hazardous and require specific skills, capabilities and licences. Under the model WHS Regulations, licences are required for: 

  • high risk work
  • asbestos removal and clearance
  • demolition work
  • major hazard facilities.

High-risk work licences

Safe Work Australia does not issue HRW licences. To obtain one you need to complete the right qualification and be assessed as competent to do the high risk work safely. You must then apply to the WHS regulator in your state or territory for a licence.

If you already have a high-risk work licence but it was granted in another state or territory, contact the WHS regulator in the state or territory where you want to work to check that your licence is recognised.

High risk work

Under the model WHS Regulations, you must not perform HRW unless you are over 18 years and hold the right HRW licence. High risk work includes:

  • scaffolding
  • dogging and rigging work
  • operating certain types of cranes and hoists
  • operating a forklift truck
  • operating a reach stacker
  • use of a boom-type elevating work platform
  • operating a boiler, steam turbine or reciprocating steam engine.

Schedule 3 to the model WHS Regulations provides a full list of the kinds of work that need a HRW licence.

How to obtain a licence

To obtain an HRW licence you must have the right qualification. Schedule 4 to the model WHS Regulations sets out the qualifications you need for each type of HRW licence.

You can gain a qualification by completing a training course delivered by an RTO. For information about the training you need and where you can enrol visit Department of Education and Training (www.training.gov.au). 

Once you have successfully gained your qualification, your ability to do HRW safely will be assessed—your RTO can arrange this for you.

  • You must be given a notice of satisfactory assessment (or equivalent) as well as certification that you have completed the right qualification, to be able to apply for a HRW licence.

Applying for a high-risk work licence

Once you have gained your qualification and been assessed by an accredited assessor, you can apply to your local WHS regulator for an HRW licence.

To do this you must lodge an application for an HRW licence with your local WHS regulator within 60 days of your qualification certification being issued. Your application must include:

  • your name and residential address
  • a photograph of you (contact your local WHS regulator for requirements)
  • evidence of your age and identity, as required
  • the class of HRW licence you are applying for
  • a copy of a certificate that shows you hold the relevant qualification.

You must also make certain declarations to the WHS regulator including about whether you:

  • hold an HRW licence under another WHS law
  • have ever been convicted or found guilty of an offence, or entered into an enforceable undertaking under a relevant WHS law, and if so provide the details
  • have ever been refused an HRW licence and if so, provide the details
  • have ever held an HRW licence that has been suspended or cancelled or made subject to conditions, or you have been disqualified from applying for any licence.

It is an offence to give false or misleading information in your application.

You can perform HRW while you are completing your training and competency assessment and during the 60 days after your qualification certification is issued—but you need to be supervised by someone who holds a current licence for the class of HRW you are performing.

Your obligations

As an HRW licence holder you must:

  • only do HRW for which you are licensed
  • comply with any conditions imposed on your HRW licence
  • have your licence document available for inspection
  • notify your WHS regulator of a change of address within 14 days of moving
  • notify your WHS regulator as soon as you can if your licence document is lost, stolen or destroyed
  • return your licence to your WHS regulator if you are directed to do so.

Renewing your licence

An HRW licence expires five years after the day it was granted.

Your local WHS regulator will send you a renewal notice before the expiry date that is listed on the bottom right corner of your licence. You can renew it online; visit your local WHS regulator’s website for more information on how to do this.

If you do not renew your licence within 12 months of its expiry date it can’t be renewed (except in exceptional circumstances). Instead you will need to complete the qualification for the type of HRW that you want to do before you can apply again.

Once you have enrolled in the right training you may continue to carry out HRW providing you are under the supervision of someone who holds a current licence for the class of HRW you are performing.

Working in another state or territory

Generally, if you have obtained an HRW licence in one place in Australia you will be able to do HRW in any other place. To check contact the local WHS regulator where you want to carry out HRW. You must also advise the local WHS regulator of your change of address. 


For information on the fees to apply for, replace or renew your HRW licence, contact your local WHS regulator.

Asbestos removal and clearance

You must be licensed to remove asbestos, unless you’re removing 10 square metres or less of non-friable asbestos or asbestos contaminated dust and debris associated with the removal of that amount of non-friable asbestos.

You should contact the relevant WHS Regulator to check the licensing requirements for asbestos removal in the jurisdiction where the work will be carried out. In many states and territories you may still be required to undergo training on asbestos identification and awareness to remove asbestos, even if a license is not required.

Under the model WHS Regulations, three licences have been established: Class A Removalist, Class B Removalist and Licensed Asbestos Assessor.

  • Businesses with a Class A licence are permitted to remove all types of asbestos, including friable and non-friable forms.
  • Businesses with a Class B licence can only remove non-friable asbestos.
  • People with an Asbestos Assessor licence can conduct air monitoring, conduct clearance inspections and issue clearance certificates for Class A removalist work.

Transitional arrangements for existing licence holders have been established in jurisdictions that have implemented the model WHS Regulations.

Friable and non-friable asbestos

  • Friable asbestos is a material containing asbestos in a powder form or a material that when dry may be crushed or pulverised into a powder in your hand. Friable asbestos material poses a higher risk of exposing people to airborne asbestos fibres. Friable asbestos was commonly used in industrial applications rather than the home, although loose-fill asbestos has been found in homes in NSW and the ACT where it was installed as ceiling insulation.
  • Non-friable or bonded asbestos products are solid and you can’t crumble them in your hand—the asbestos has been mixed with a bonding compound such as cement. If non-friable asbestos is damaged or degraded it may become friable and will then pose a higher risk of fibre release.

For more information visit the asbestos page.

Demolition work

You may be required to hold a licence before carrying out demolition work, and you may also need the relevant asbestos removal licence if the demolition work involves asbestos removal.

For more information on demolition licensing training requirements please contact your local WHS regulator.

Major hazard facilities

Under the model WHS Regulations,a major hazard facility must be licensed if it meets specific requirements for quantities and types of hazardous chemicals on site. The facility’s operator holds the licence and is responsible for the duties outlined in Part 9 of the model WHS Regulations.

A licence is granted by the WHS regulator when specific conditions regarding the operation and management of the facility are met including:

  • emergency procedures
  • safety management system
  • safety case.

More information about major hazard facilities and the licensing of them can be found on the MHF page.

Further advice

SWA is not a WHS regulator and cannot advise you about licence compliance. If you need help, please contact your state or territory work health and safety regulator.

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