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What Is the White Card and Do I Need it?
If you want to work on a construction site, you need to know how to get a white card. It is a requirement for all labourers and tradespeople entering hazardous work sites anywhere in Australia.
What Is a White Card?
A white card is issued to individuals who complete general construction induction training. It serves as proof that workers have a basic understanding of health and safety precautions on a work site.
It replaces some of the individual Australian state induction certificates such as the blue card. The nationally recognised card is accepted in most states and territories.
Who Needs a White Card?
Anyone that wants to work in the construction industry needs a white card. The requirement even applies to those visiting the country with a working holiday visa.
Besides construction labourers, anyone who sets foot on a work site needs construction induction cards, including:
- Site managers
- Workers who regularly enter construction sites
Most states and territories recognise induction certificates issued in other regions. After the national OHS laws were updated in 2012, the following areas accept certificates issued throughout Australia:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- Northern Territory
Basically, without the induction certificate, you cannot enter a construction site.
What Is the Importance of a White Card?
White cards were designed to help maintain safety in the workplace. According to SafeWork Australia, the construction industry suffers from the third-most worker fatalities each year after the transport and agriculture industries. Close to one out of five work-related fatalities occurs on construction sites.
With the proper training, individuals receive up-to-date health and safety advice and methods for dealing with work site hazards.
The induction course provides a foundation of knowledge and skills for preventing workplace injuries and fatalities. Workers learn more about the most common risks and how to avoid them or reduce the risk. Besides helping to protect workers, training is mandatory.
How Do You Get a White Card in Australia?
To obtain a white card, you need to complete construction induction training. The Nationally Recognised course is called CPCCWHS1001 Prepare to work safely in the construction industry.
Workers should only attend a course offered through a registered training organisation RTO. The cost varies between nationally recognised RTOs and is the responsibility of the attendee. Your employer may not cover the cost.
In most areas, training must be completed face to face. In fact, online training is now not recognised by the State regulatory bodies. Face-to-face training offers many advantages compared to online training, including the ability to demonstrate practical skills.
After you successfully complete the course, and are deemed competent, you receive a statement of attainment. The statement is proof that you’ve completed the unit of competency and are ready to start work on a construction site.
The white card arrives in the mail and replaces the need to carry the statement. The statement is valid for 60 days but certificates typically arrive within 30 days or less.
All cards issued after July 2011 now have a photographic ID. Older cards remain valid as they do not have an expiry date. However, if you do not work in the construction industry for a period of two years or more, you need to retake the course.
Anyone who plans to work in the construction industry or needs to enter a work site must complete this training. There are no prerequisites. You simply need to be at least 14 years of age and possess basic English language skills.
The program and all materials, videos, and tests are presented in English.
After you get your card, you must keep it with you. If the card gets lost, it may be replaced through the RTO where you completed the training.
When replacing a lost card, you need to provide the exact details. If you move or change your name, you should also complete the necessary application form to update your details.
What Does Construction Induction Training Involve?
The white card course is also called construction induction training. It includes a comprehensive look at common hazards that you may encounter on a construction site, such as:
- Impact (struck-by and caught-in)
- Electrical hazards
- Exposure to hazardous materials
Struck-by accidents involve getting hit by an object such as a piece of equipment or machinery. A caught-in accident occurs when a worker gets caught between two objects or in a confined space.
Workers learn to identify these hazards before completing a task. A risk assessment model allows you to evaluate the hazard and find ways to reduce or eliminate the risk.
Training courses also cover the recommended procedure for reporting safety issues and responding to health and safety incidents.
The course lasts for a full day. It combines presentations and practical training to ensure that participants grasp the safety information. At the end of the program, attendees complete an assessment.
Before attending the program, you can receive pre-course materials. These materials provide an overview of the information covered. Reviewing this information beforehand helps you retain more of the details during training.
The bottom line is that general construction induction training is mandatory for anyone who wants to work on a construction site. Even if you are just visiting and plan to work temporarily, you need to complete the required program.
If you continue to work in the industry, you only need to take the course one time. Find an approved RTO and sign up for your training today.
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