Construction is a high-risk industry and has special health and safety requirements for anyone who wants to work in it. Before an employee can set foot on an Australian construction site, they need to show their employer a valid White Card.
For those who are new to White Cards, this guide will explain exactly what they are, why they’re important, and the process job seekers need to follow to get one.
What is a White Card?
A White Card, also known as a Construction Induction Card, is a mandatory requirement for anyone working in the construction industry in Australia. It provides proof that workers have completed general construction induction training and are aware of the basic health and safety obligations that come with working on a construction site.
Who needs a White Card?
Anyone who wants to work in the construction industry in Australia needs a White Card, including:
Students on work placement
Other workers who routinely visit construction sites
What does a White Card course cover?
A White Card course covers a range of topics, including:
Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation and regulations
WHS hazards and risks
WHS controls and procedures
Emergency response procedures
Construction worker rights and responsibilities
How do I get a White Card?
To get a White Card, you need to complete a White Card course from a registered training organisation (RTO). There are two types of White Card courses available:
Face-to-face courses: These courses are typically delivered in a classroom setting over a period of 6-8 hours.
Online courses: These courses can be completed at your own pace and from anywhere with an internet connection.
Once you have completed a White Card course, your RTO will issue you with a White Card. White Cards are valid for three years.
Why are White Cards important for business owners?
White Cards are important to Australian construction businesses for several reasons, including:
Compliance: White Cards are a mandatory requirement for all workers who want to carry out construction work in Australia. This is because the White Card course provides workers with the essential knowledge and skills they need to work safely on a construction site.
Safety: White Card holders have a better understanding of the hazards associated with construction work and the safety precautions that need to be taken to mitigate them. This helps to manage the risks of accidents and injuries on construction sites.
Productivity: Workers who have a good understanding of safety are more likely to be productive and efficient. This is because they are less likely to be distracted by safety concerns and can focus on their work.
Reputation: Businesses that employ White Card holders are demonstrating their commitment to safety. This can help to improve the company’s reputation and attract new clients.
What are the implications of hiring a worker without a White Card?
The consequences of business owners hiring staff without White Cards can be serious. Some of the implications include:
Compliance risks: Construction businesses are required by law to ensure that all of their workers have a White Card. Failure to do so could result in health and safety claims, fines, or other penalties.
Reputational risks: Businesses that are caught hiring workers without White Cards may be seen as irresponsible and unsafe. This could damage the company’s reputation and make it more difficult to attract new clients and employees.
Insurance risks: Insurers may charge higher premiums or even cancel the policies of businesses that employ workers without White Cards. This is because they are seen as being at a higher risk of accidents and injuries.
If you own a construction business, don’t make yourself vulnerable. Whenever you take on a new worker, make sure they have all the right documentation, including a White Card.
FREE Construction Toolkit!
With several awards and regulations, it can get tricky for business owners to keep up with their obligations. How do you ensure a safe, healthy and fair workplace?
This FREE Construction Toolkit gives you a range of handy resources that can help you build a better business.
Where can I find a White Card course?
You can find a White Card course by searching online or contacting your local RTO. There are many RTOs that offer White Card courses, so it is important to compare prices and course content before making a booking.
You might decide to look for an RTO that offers a White Card course tailored to your specific needs. For example, if you are interested in working as a labourer, you could look for a course that covers specific hazards and risks associated with labouring work.
It can also help to ask local construction companies about their White Card requirements. Some companies may require workers to complete a specific type of White Card course, or they may only hire you if you have additional training or experience. The sooner you find out about these requirements, the better.
Eligibility criteria and application process
You must be at least 14 years old to participate a White Card course. Before enrolling on the course, you will need to provide your RTO with 100 points of ID.
Once you have completed the course, the RTO will give you the application forms for a White Card that you must submit to your local government. They will also give you a statement that you can use to prove you have completed the training until your card arrives.
The statement is valid for 60 days, but most cards are issued in less than 30 days.
How much does a White Card cost?
The cost of a White Card course varies depending on the RTO and the type of course you choose. Face-to-face courses are typically more expensive than online courses.
To maximise on the investment, here are some tips for getting the most out of a White Card course:
Be prepared: Before the course starts, take some time to read up on WHS legislation and regulations. This will help you to understand the course content and get more out of it.
Be engaged: Participate in class discussions and ask questions if you are unsure about anything.
Take notes: This will help you to remember the key concepts covered in the course.
Review your notes: After the course, review your notes and make sure you understand all of the material.
Benefits of having a White Card
There are many benefits to having a White Card, including:
Increased job opportunities: A White Card is essential for anyone who wants to work in the construction industry in Australia. If you don’t have a White Card to show prospective employers, your chances of finding work on a construction site are slim.
Improved safety: The White Card course teaches you about the hazards and risks associated with construction work, as well as the controls and procedures that you can implement to avoid accidents and stay safe.
Peace of mind: Knowing that you have the necessary training and knowledge to work safely on a construction site can give you peace of mind.
If you’re interested in working in the construction industry, it makes sense to get your White Card as soon as possible. It is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to drastically improve your job prospects. Most importantly, it will give you the knowledge needed to work safely in an environment that is a well-known hotspot for health and safety risks.
If you’re unsure about whether you’re meeting your health and safety obligations, Employsure can help. For peace of mind, please call us on 1300 615 415 for free expert advice.