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A high-risk licence is required for anyone working on scaffolding.

WorkSafe ACT has issued a reminder that high-risk work licences are “a privilege, not a right”, and that people holding such licences must ensure they are maintaining the correct competencies at all times.

In Australia, any worker who is performing particularly hazardous tasks or operating complex equipment on the job is required to hold a high-risk work licence that is valid across all states or territories.

For example, high-risk work licences are mandatory for anybody who is performing scaffolding work, operating cranes and hoists, forklifts or pressure equipment, or doing rigging work.

In order to acquire a high-risk work licence, individuals must undergo specialised safety training with a registered training organisation, before being assessed by a registered assessor. Licences are valid for five years from the date of issue.

However, ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe has this month warned that high-risk licence holders must take responsibility for ensuring that they have and maintain the competencies associated with their particular licence.

“High risk work, by its nature, can lead to serious accidents, if not fatalities,” said Mr McCabe in a statement released October 8.

“WorkSafe ACT will take action if it determines that a high risk work licence-holder does not have the competence required to undertake the work for which they are licensed.”

Mr McCabe says that anybody concerned about the competency of a person holding a high-risk work licence should contact WorkSafe ACT so that a proper investigation can be conducted.

The warning follows an unfortunate incident earlier this year, which involved an apprentice carpenter being injured after the building site scaffolding that he was working on collapsed.

An individual had his high-risk work licence suspended for 12 months as a result of the incident. However, he will be able to shorten that suspension by participating in specialised construction safety training programs on correct scaffolding erection and dismantling protocols.

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