Frequently Asked Questions About Construction Work in Australia
What is construction work?
As outlined on the Safework SA website, construction work is defined as “any work carried out in connection with the construction, alteration, conversion, fitting-out, commissioning, renovation, repair, maintenance, refurbishment, demolition, decommissioning or dismantling of a structure”. Construction work covers the housing, commercial and civil sectors.
- Construction work may include but is not limited to the following:
- Building/housing construction
- Structural steel erection
- demolition work
- asbestos removal
- floor and wall tiling; roof tiling
- floor covering
What is a Duty of Care?
A Duty of care is an obligation to make sure you are taking all necessary care to ensure the safety of yourself and everyone else.
What is Personal Protective Equipment?
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is any gear that a construction worker wears in the construction site. The PPE is meant to protect workers from the risks and hazards present in the workplace. This can include goggles to protect the eyes, hard hats, gloves, ear plugs, high-visibility clothing, steel-toed boots and safety harnesses, among others.
Who should provide the PPE?
The employer or construction site operator/owner must provide the PPE unless the worker already has the PPE. This can also be provided in the form of an allowance that will cover the cost of the PPE.
No worker should be charged, levied or caused to be charged or levied to obtain the PPE. Salary deduction for work-related items is also prohibited by law.
What is the induction training course?
There are at least two types of induction trainings that a construction worker has to complete before starting any construction work. These are the 1) OH&S construction induction training and 2) site-specific or task-specific induction trainings.
The OH&S construction induction training course is required for all individuals who are planning to work or are currently working in any construction site. Completing this course allows workers to earn the needed skills and knowledge to implement Occupational Health and Safety standards. You will be educated and trained about the basic skills, principles and knowledge to help you avoid the risks as well as prevent the hazards that are present in any construction site. You can obtain your White Card only if you have completed the OH&S training course.
The site-specific training courses are implemented on the construction site where you will be working. This is conducted by the site supervisors and/or employers. These trainings that are specific to their particular site. The task-specific training course is implemented to train construction workers on how to safely go about their specific tasks. This course is also conducted at the site.
What topics are included in the OH&S construction induction training course?
The following is an overview of topics generally covered in an induction training course:
- How to Identify and Explain Occupational Health and Safety Legislative Requirements
- Understanding the Important Common Terms Used in the Legislation
- Identifying Duty of Care Requirements
- Understanding your responsibilities to comply with Safe Work Practices
- Basic Principles of Risk Management
- Reporting Risks through either Verbal or Written Reporting
- Safety Signs and Symbols
- Reporting Hazards, Incidents and Injuries
Who has to complete a White Card training course?
The OH&S construction training course is also known as the White Card training course. All individuals aged 14 and older who plan to work or are working in any construction site is mandated by law to take the induction training course and obtain their White Card. This include:
- Persons applying to work as apprentice
- Site managers or supervisors
- Project managers
- Traffic controllers
- Regular visitors of a work site
An owner who does construction work in his/her own property does not need to complete the construction induction training course; however, if this property becomes a place where other contractors or subcontractors perform specific tasks or construction work, the conduction induction training course then becomes a requirement for everyone.
Is a White Card recognised in every state in Australia?
Yes, the White Card is a permanent proof that you have taken the induction training course. It is recognised in all states across Australia regardless of where you took your training,
What should I do with my previously issued, state-specific coloured cards?
The White Card replaces the previously issued, state-specific, coloured cards such the Red Card of Victoria, Blue Card of Queensland or Green Card of NWS and Western Australia. However, if you already have these cards, you can still use them as long as these are not yet expired or cancelled.
How long is the White card valid for?
The White Card has no expiration date as long as you continue to work in the construction industry. If you have a break of more than 2 years than you may need to redo your white card. Once you have completed the induction training course, you will be given a Statement of Attainment which is a document that you can present to your employers as your temporary proof that you have already completed the course. Your White Card will be sent to you through post.
Where can I take the White Card induction training course?
There are many Registered Training Organisations across Australia that provide the OH&S construction induction training course. A number of these RTOs provide face-to-face training as well as online training courses.
It is important that you choose the ones that are accredited and nationally recognised. We have done some research for you and recommend that you check out a particular training provider right HERE. They allow you to take the course and pay only when you have passed the course.