High risk work licenses

Under the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations you, as a worker, must have a licence before a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) can direct you to undertake high risk work. 

This page will assist you, as a worker, understand what types of work require a high risk work licence under the model work health and safety laws, and direct you the process for obtaining a licence. 

Please note: Safe Work Australia does not issue licences. Your local WHS regulator has information about licensing in your state or territory, including what to do if you lose your licence document or it gets stolen. 

Licences for high risk work 

You must have the right high risk work licence and be over the age of 18 to perform high risk work. High risk work includes: 

  • scaffolding work (as defined in the regulations)

  • dogging and rigging work 

  • operating certain types of cranes and hoists 

  • operating a forklift truck 

  • operating a reach stacker 

  • operating a boom-type elevating work platform with a boom length of over 11 metres 

  • operating a boiler, steam turbine or reciprocating steam engine. 

Schedule 3 of the model WHS Regulations sets out high risk work licences and classes of high risk work. 

When you don’t need a high risk work licence 

You don’t need a high risk work licence if you: 

  • are enrolled in a training course for the relevant high risk work and a holder of that licence is supervising you during the work 

  • applied for your high risk work licence within 60 days of getting your statement of attainment (or equivalent).  

Getting a high risk work licence 

Registered training organisations (RTOs) train and assess people for high risk work licences. There are a range of RTOs and courses. The RTOs must be listed on the National Register of Vocational Education and Training. See www.training.gov.au for information about the training you need and accredited RTOs . 

When you pass the national assessment instrument for the licence class you will get a statement of attainment or equivalent. 

You can then apply to your local WHS regulator for a high risk work licence. You must lodge your application within 60 days of getting your statement of attainment or equivalent. 

Your licence is valid for 5 years 

Renewing your licence 

You cannot carry out high risk work while your licence is expired.  

You must renew your licence within 12 months after the expiry date. If you don’t, you must do training and assessment again before you can lodge another application.  

Duties of high risk work licence holders 

As a high risk work licence holder you must: 

  • only do high risk work you have a licence for 

  • comply with any conditions imposed on your licence 

  • keep your licence with you for inspection 

  • tell your WHS regulator you have changed address within 14 days of moving 

  • tell your WHS regulator as soon as you can if you lose your licence document, or it gets stolen or destroyed 

  • return your licence to your WHS regulator if they ask you to. 

Working in another state or territory 

Your high risk work licence is generally valid across Australia. If you wish to work in a different state or territory to where your licence was granted, contact the WHS regulator in the state or territory where you want to work to check that your licence is recognised. 

You must tell the local WHS regulator if you have changed your address.  

Supporting information