3.6 High Risk Work

This part of the 2017 OHS Regulations regulates what work requires the operator to hold a licence for.

The main changes to the 2007 in the current 2017 regulations are:
  • explicitly providing that WorkSafe may impose terms and conditions when authorising a person to carry out assessments of competency
  • introduction of a new licence class for reach stackers (to come into operation on 18 June 2018)
  • the removal of a requirement to hold a forklift truck operation licence to operate low-lift pallet trucks
  • A number of changes to the requirements and scope of work for the following licences:
    • the dogging licence;
    • the bridge and gantry crane operation licence;
    • the vehicle loading crane operation licence;
    • the order-picking forklift licence
  • major changes to the boiler operation licensing scheme - three classes have been consolidated and replaced with two new classes (standard and advanced), and will take effect 18 June 2018
  • an expansion to circumstances under which a boiler licence is not required

A high risk work licence means any of the licences listed in Schedule 3 of the regulations, which describes the scope of the licence and its exclusions.  These are:
Part 1 - Licence classes for scaffolding and rigging
Scaffolding and rigging Basic scaffolding
Intermediate scaffolding
Advanced scaffolding
Basic rigging
Intermediate rigging
Advanced rigging
Part 2 - Licence classes for crane, hoist and forklift truck operation
Crane and hoist operation

Tower Crane operation
Self-erecting tower crane operation
Derrick crane operation
Portal boom crane operation
Bridge and gantry crane operation
Vehicle loading crane operation
Non-slewing mobile crane operation
Slewing mobile crane operation (up to 20 tonnes)
Slewing mobile crane operation (up to 60 tonnes)
Slewing mobile crane operation (up to 100 tonnes)
Slewing mobile crane operation (open/over 100 tonnes)
Reach Stacker
Boom-type elevating work platform operation
Materials hoist (cantilever platform) operation
Hoist (personnel and materials) operation
Concrete placing boom operation
Forklift truck operation
Order-picking forklift truck operation 

Part 3 - Licence classes for pressure equipment operation
Pressure equipment operation Standard boiler operation
Advanced boiler operation
Turbine operation
Reciprocating steam engine operation

Schedule 4 lists the pressure equipment for which a high risk work licence is not required.

Division 1 - Requirement to hold a licence

128 - 129 The regulations require a person carrying out work that is defined as 'high risk' (as detailed in Schedule 3) to hold a licence:

  • it is an offence for a person to carry out the work without the appropriate licence.  
  • it is an offence for an employer to allow an employee to carry out the work without the appropriate licence
130 UNLESS the person -
  • is undertaking training or a training course in order to obtain a high risk work licence (132 & 133). The person MUST be under direct supervision - that is, basically 'in sight and sound' of the supervisor; or
  • is authorised to work under reg 138 ie is awaiting his/her licence to be processed or until 14 days after being notice that the application has been refused; or
  • is only operating pressure equipment listed in Schedule 4; or
  • is working under the terms of an exemption granted by the Authority to the employer under reg 538(1);
  • is only performing high risk work involving plant for the purposes of testing, installing, commissioning, maintaining or repairing the plant - in certain circumstances.

131 Current and valid interstate licences issued by a corresponding Authority are recognised in Victoria

Division 2 - Training

132 & 133 Trainees must be under direct supervision (although the regs allow for some flexibility, including if the level of competence of the trainee is such that direct supervision is 'unnecessary'. In these cases, the person should be assessed for competency and get their licence.)

Division 3 - Assessments of competency
Division 4 - Authorisation of assessors

Theses divisions describe the process of assessment of competency and licencing (134 - 138), as well as the qualifications of those persons who assess competency (139). Due to some serious issues with assessors in the past, the new regulations provide for WorkSafe to be able to impose terms and conditions when authorising a person to carry out assessments of competency.

More information
Licence for high-risk work application forms can be collected from Australia Post outlets, downloaded from WorkSafe website or ordered from the Worksafe Advisory Service (03 9641 1444 or 1800 136 089). There are different forms for different licences.

Licensing fees vary depending on the type and class of licence. To check on the progress of an application call the Licensing Branch on 1300 852 562 or email [email protected].

Licences are issued for a period of five years, and are valid in every Australian state and territory.

Further information

Last amended December 2022