Safework, a statutory government agency, creates national policies for the workers’ health, safety, and compensation. The Commonwealth, states, and territories enforce these policies in their jurisdiction. The Work Health and Safety Act is one of these policies, which provides a guideline for each industry. In construction, workers must earn a white card for their health and safety. Read further to find more information on how a white card course may help achieve it. Anyone who carries out construction work will understand the benefits of obtaining a white card.
What Construction Work is a White Card for?
Safework’s policy requires anyone carrying out construction work to obtain a white card. It states that it can be commercial, civil, or residential that performs the following:
- decommissioning or dismantling of a structure
- building site preparation
Safework provides information on who has specific duties under the WHS Act found on its website.
Who May Benefit from Obtaining a White Card?
Safework states that everyone in the construction workplace has WHS duties under the model WHS Act. The following persons have specific duties aside from obtaining a white card:
- A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU)
- A principal contractor
- A person who commissions the construction work
- A designer of the building or structure
- A person carrying out construction work that is considered a high-risk
- A manufacturer, importer, supplier, or installer of plants, substances, or structures used on construction sites
- A company officer, such as the director
- A worker
- The other people on the construction site, such as visitors
Safework outlines what construction workers may benefit from if they obtain a white card.
What are the Benefits of Obtaining a White Card?
Safework outlines that the white card course provides training for the following work health and safety concerns.
Construction workers may benefit from avoiding risks onsite as a white card course provides training on risk control measures. Below are some of the methods to do this:
- Eliminating the possible risks onsite
- Replacing a hazardous item or task with a safer one
- Isolating hazards, so these do not harm other people
- Using administrative controls to reduce any other risks
Safework states that this may happen with the help of appropriate protective equipment.
Learn How to Fit and Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Correctly
Safework states that using personal protective equipment (PPE) may help reduce the remaining risks after the control measures. It is why a white card course covers this topic, so workers are knowledgeable in the correct use and fitting of the following:
- Ear plugs
- Safety harnesses and shoes
- Hard hats
Understand Emergency Plans
Local Work Health and Safety regulators require PCBUs to complete emergency plans before starting construction work. It contains instructions on what workers may do if there is an emergency. A white card course helps students learn the following components of emergency plans:
- Emergency response
- Procedures for evacuation
- Informing emergency services
- Access to medical treatment and help
- Effective communication between the people on site
- Testing of emergency procedures to verify that they work
There is additional information, training, and instruction to relevant workers regarding emergency procedures as there may be an assignment of first aid officers onsite.
Provide Consultations for Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)
Safework explains that PCBUs conducting high-risk construction work must prepare SWMS. The PCBU must consult with the workers and anyone involved in the creation of the SWMS to:
- Identify the high-risk activities and the hazards
- Identify, implement, monitor, and review control measures
A white card course trains construction workers to understand and explain the SWMS they may have to provide consultation with. Safework’s website provides details on what high-risk construction work is.
How May Construction Works Benefit from Obtaining a White Card?
Safework’s Code of Practice for Construction Work determines that only Registered Training Organisations may deliver a white card course. One of which is Accredited Short Courses (RTO NO 21903), accepts online bookings on its website and provides face-face-training on the following sites:
According to Safework, construction workers must bring their white cards onsite for inspections.
What are the Other Benefits of Obtaining a White Card?
The model WHS Act governs the Code of Practice for Construction Work.
Aside from the workers’ health and safety, obtaining a white card is essential for law compliance. Workers must present their white cards on construction sites to prove they follow the local government’s laws.
Local WHS regulators impose penalties on those who will not comply with the WHS Act. For instance, the South Australian government lists penalties for those who will not abide by the white card rule.
- Corporation/government body – $500,000 to $3,000,000
- PCBU or an officer of the PCBU – $100,000 to $600,000 and/or 5 years in jail
- Individual (e.g. a worker) – $50,000 to $300,000 and/or 5 years in jail
Other territories may have a different set of penalties.
The benefits of obtaining a white card are for the workers’ health, safety, and law compliance. Registered Training Organisations such as Accredited Short Courses (RTO NO 21903) deliver the white card course throughout Australia. Anyone required to complete this training may visit the website of the RTO and attend the course.