Demystifying the White Card
Another Day, Another Blog !!!
Someone asked me the other day why we try to do a blog as often as we can.
Simple reason is, we like to share information with our owner builder students, to ensure they have the best learning experience and have accesses to the latest information that is available.
It does not always work, at times we get so caught up in the day to day business matters and RTO compliance works, that we just do not get time.
This time of year though, student numbers can get a bit slow so it makes sense to catch up on the latest owner builder news and make the information available to our owner builders.
I just had an email from one of our students and again, the question came up about whether the White Card is mandatory for owner builders.
The answer is simple.
As an owner builder you will be considered the Principal Contractor and the person in control of the site.
That means you are absolutely responsible for the WHS and OHS matters on your site.
The confusion comes about because the requirement is covered under different legislation and not referred to in the building code other than talking about the requirement to complete General Safety Induction Training.
The White Card is the resultant document from the completion of this training and is satisfied by successfully undertaking CPCCCOHS1001 Work Safely in the Construction Industry.
For our NSW Owner Builder students, Services NSW make it very clear, without the White Card (and you must present the physical card) you will not be granted your owner builder permit.
In Queensland, the QBCC have not placed this pre requisite, which causes confusion, but let me assure you the legislation applies equally in QLD and it does in NSW and owner builders must have completed General Safety Induction Training to comply.
Recently the requirements changed in respect to the assessment for the White Card and I will cover that in another post.
Best Regards and Happy Owner Building
Hi my name is Steve. I am a qualified Electrician in NSW and I do have a White Card. I do agree that the White Card should be mandatory for all persons on any construction site. Not only for all trades on site, but also for the laborers and trade assists. However, my son was required to complete his White Card whilst at school so he could undertake work experience on a construction site. I am not sure how much information he retained from that course as he was young. With that in mind I would still suggest that the principal contractor and all trade contractor employers are responsible for ensuring that all WHS & OHS principals are adhered to, especially with young people and apprentices. Would anyone disagree with that?
I would not disagree. Though your comment in relation to, can I say maturity, of persons obtaining a white card did interest me. That is not to say that school children are immature, but there minds are less developed then those of adults. I am not a trades person, and I have very limited experience in relation to building generally. Though I can see that there is a tremendous amount of regulation in the construction industry relating to the safety of persons. I would suggest the issuance of a white card for a period of time, as opposed to it being 'forever', as I believe it is. This could ensure that persons refresh their knowledge of the related rules and regulation after they have had further time to mature and / or obtained industry experience. Like issuing a 'P' plate licence with an expiry date. I see how that could give parents some peace of mind.
From someone who has worked in the construction industry for a number of years I (respectfully of course) disagree that a White Card should have an expiry date.
The White card has a strong emphasis on workplace safety, as does the owner builder course for good reason. many incidents can and will occur on all sites and its important to be able to identify risks, hazards and how to respond. I found the White card process informative and useful.
The reason for getting a white card varies for each person but in my case I needed it in order to apply for my Owner Builder Permit in NSW. My take on this course was that it was a lot of information jammed in to very little time. The pace of the course was based on the faster students in the class and I don't think those slower learners walked out with the knowledge and education they could have if it was self paced. I was personally satisfied with the knowledge gained, and a large part of the contents are based on common sense, but unfortunately common sense is not a trait that everybody has.
I agree, as principal contractor on a site, you need to have a white card to ensure compliance across the site and a baseline level of knowledge for yourself and also others entering site. After all, we want to ensure all worksites are as free from injury and harm for everyone as much as possible!
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Rick Heaton is a Building and Construction Industry professional with formal tertiary qualifications in management and training.