As a construction worker in Australia, you are likely eager to get started on your next (or maybe your first!) big project or contract. Before you can get started on a new project, however, you need to be sure you have the proper cards obtained and in place. This leads people to ask, what cards do I need to work on a building site in Australia?
To work on a building site in Australia, you need a White Card. This is also known as a CSCS card. However, you may be able to get away with having a Blue Card pending the area you want to work in. Other cards may be necessary depending on the worksite, but these are vital for construction workers.
Let’s talk about what these actually mean!
What is a construction white card?
A construction White Card is the main card you legally need in order to work on a building site in Australia. It allows you to enter and work on required sites across all states and territories in Australia. Without this card, it is illegal for you to step foot on any construction ground.
Construction White Cards show you completed the training provided by the Prepare to Work Safely in the Construction Industry through a Registered Training Organization (RTO). Classed under CPCCWHS1001. They prove that you’re competent in the basic skills needed to work on a site. Without this card, you are not allowed to work in construction in Australia.
What if I don’t have a White Card?
If you don’t have a White Card, then you can’t work on a building site in Australia. Building sites refers to any construction site you are hired under contract to work on. For example, a company is expanding their office space and hires you and your team to do the work. You would not be allowed to work that building site without a White Card. The people who will need a White Card include skilled and general construction labourers, surveyors, supervisors and construction managers.
At a bare minimum, you need a Blue Card (sometimes also known as a Green or Red card pending the territory). The Blue Card allows you to work on building sites in the state the card was granted in only. Once you’ve obtained your Blue Card you could approach a local labour hire agency to connect you with employers in the state. Then you can be sure to not break any restrictions by trying to work outside of the zone your card covers.
What is the difference between a construction Blue card and White card?
The key difference between a construction Blue Card and a White Card is the White Card is accepted nationwide. Like the White Card, the Blue Card is given to construction workers when they complete the training course. However, the Blue Card is only accepted in the state it is earned in. Meaning, if you have a Blue Card in Queensland, you can’t work on a building site in any other state in Australia. You would have to complete the course again in that state before being able to work there.
The White Card is accepted nationwide after completing a single course. If you have a Blue Card and were wondering if you should upgrade, the answer is undoubtedly, yes!
How do you get a White Card in Australia?
To obtain a construction White Card, you have to complete the CPCCWHS1001 – Prepare to Work Safely in the Construction Industry training course. This is done through a Registered Training Organization (RTO). It’s taught in person in each territory in Australia as well as online in a few territories
But each state runs their training a little bit differently (even though White Cards are transferable). It’s preferred that the training be done in person, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, several territories have developed an online version of the training sequence.
The course takes an average of 4-6 hours to complete. Once you complete the course, you will receive a Statement of Attainment from the RTO. Your White Card will then be mailed to you and you’re good to start working or searching for work. Once you have everything in place, you could look into how labour hire works and find the best job for you.
What is involved in the White Card course?
A construction White Card course provides you with the bare minimum knowledge to work on a construction site. The card shows that you’re competent in the literacy and mathematics that coincide with what you will hear and engage in on a building site. The course will teach you concepts like:
- The current legal requirements and laws surrounding construction practices and workers in Australia.
- How to identify hazards on a building site and address them safely.
- How to identify situations in which emergency protocols need to be implemented.
- Understanding what the emergency protocols are.
- How to report incidents in which health and safety codes have been violated or are at risk of being violated.
Is it illegal to work on-site without a White Card in Australia?
In order to work on a building site anywhere in Australia, you do legally need to have a White Card. It is illegal to work on a building site without one. That being said, owning a Blue Card and only operating in the state it was issued in is not illegal. Just remember that a Blue Card isn’t transferrable to other states. Failure to follow the construction card laws will result in fines and possible arrest. So, you’re better off making sure that you have all of the qualifications and cards required for your construction work.
Have you considered what kind of construction work you want to go into? There are lots of options, but also plenty of reasons why you should become a carpenter. We also have what you need to know about becoming an electrician and if construction management is a good job. Looking to connect with a labour hire company? Check out our Canberra construction jobs.