Anyone looking to work in the construction industry in Australia requires a White Card. This proves that workers have completed the required health and safety training to keep them safe on-site and helps them recognise potential construction hazards in the workplace.
Ultimate Guide to Australia's White Card system
In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know about the White Card system in Australia. We'll share with you important information including why you need a card, where to get a card from, how much training costs and when they need to be replaced.
What is a White Card?
The White Card (or general construction induction card) was introduced to standardize safety standards in the construction industry. It plays an important role in improving safety on construction sites and includes training to help keep workers safe.
It is a legal requirement for anyone working in the construction industry in Australia to have a valid White Card. To obtain a White Card, you will need to complete a Certified White Card Course which is available from training providers nationwide.
Training provides the following basic information about construction industry safe working practices:
- How to identify safety hazards on site
- How to report a safety issue to the site supervisor
- Relevant safety sign information
- The use of personal safety equipment
- Workplace injury management.
Do I need a white card for Labouring?
Yes! All workers employed on a construction site in Australia need to have a valid White Card, regardless of their occupation or work status. That includes labourers, trades-people, self-employed persons working under their own ABN, site managers, supervisors, surveyors and trainees/apprentices.
Why do I need a white card?
White Cards are mandatory for all workers on construction sites in Australia. So if you intend to work in construction, even temporarily, you will need a valid White Card.
The card proves that you have completed the training necessary to help keep you and your fellow workers safe on site. It also equips you with the skills you need to deal with incidents should they occur.
Do White Cards vary in different states of Australia?
For example, can I use my Queensland White Card in New South Wales?
The White Card system replaced the previous system which was managed by each state. From September 2019, the White Card is recognised by all states and replaces the Blue Card in WA and QLD, the Red Card in VIC and the Green Card in NSW.
It is important however that you obtain a White Card from a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). White Cards issued by online providers are also no longer valid in QLD, VIC and NSW. So check with your training provider to ensure your White Card meets your needs before signing up for a course.
How do you get a White Card?
To get a White Card, you must complete a recognised White Card training course. For your card to be valid, the course must be taken with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and include general OHS induction training. White Card courses are available from RTOs across Australia.
Once the course has been completed satisfactorily, your training provider will issue a ‘statement of attainment’ to WorkSafe Australia. This proves you have completed relevant safety training and provided proof of identity. WorkSafe will issue you with a White Card within 60 days of receiving your ‘statement of attainment’.
Can you do a white card course online?
It depends on which state you wish to work in. From 19th July 2019 online White Card training is not accepted in the following states; ACT, NSW, VIC, SA and NT. To work in these states, all White Card training must be carried out at a physical RTO training centre.
Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland do still allow modules to be completed online. But the Unit of Competency (CPCCWHS1001) must still be carried out under direct observation. You will need a good internet connection and your own PPE equipment. Don’t forget to factor these into the cost of training.
How much does it cost to get a White Card?
The cost can vary depending on your chosen training provider. Some providers carry out training online which limits the amount of time spent in the classroom, while other courses are completed entirely at the training centre. In both cases, the White Card application fee, charged by WorkSafe, is included in the course fee.
Prices for online White Card courses start at $40, while a more comprehensive classroom-based course is around $150.
If your White Card is lost or stolen or you need to replace an existing QLD Blue Card. You need to apply for a new card. The replacement fee for a lost or stolen card from WorkSafe is $27.50. This is payable when you apply for a new card.
How long is a White Card course?
White Card courses are not intensive and can usually be completed within a single day for classroom-based courses. Most courses take between six to eight hours to complete so you won’t be stuck in a classroom for days.
Once you have registered for a course (both online and offline) you have up to three months to complete your training. So even if you are studying part-time, you still have plenty of time to complete your training and prove yourself competent to work in the construction industry.
What's involved in getting a White Card?
White Card courses cover a wide range of subjects related to both construction site awareness and personal safety practices. No matter if you complete your course online or in the classroom, you will cover the same basic information.
RTO registered courses include the following modules:
- OHS Legislative Requirements
- Safe Work Method Statements
- Basic Risk Management
- Common Construction Hazards
- Safe Work Practices
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Construction Workplace Safety plans
- General Construction Work Requiring licensing
- WHS Personnel and Representatives
- WHS communications
- Workers Compensation and Injury Management
- Breaches and Fines
- Site Safety Signs
- First Aid
- Fire Safety
- Emergency Response
What PPE do I need for a White Card?
To complete the Unit of Competency (CPCCWHS1001) Prepare to Work Safely in the Construction Industry module, you will need to demonstrate the correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) equipment.
To complete this section, you will need the following items of PPE:
- Hard hat
- Safety glasses
- High visibility vest
- Ear defenders
Actual PPE equipment must be used; substitutes are not permitted. Most classroom-based courses provide this equipment for you, but for online courses, you must purchase the equipment separately.
Does a White Card expire?
White Cards do not have an expiry date, but WorkSafe stipulates that the card will expire if the holder is out of the construction industry for two consecutive years. If you have performed any construction-related work in the past two years, your card is still valid. If not, you will need to apply for a new card and complete basic safety training again.