Government agrees to change regulations on crane licences

Work Health and Safety

The Minister for Industrial Relations has listened to our concerns about a new regulation that threatened to disrupt the construction industry.

As reported in our first news item about this, The Master Plumbers and Gasfitters Association of WA and other industry groups protested to the WA Government about Schedule 3 of WA’s new Work Health and Safety Regulations. This came into effect on 31 March and requires the operator of earthmoving equipment used as a crane to hold a slewing mobile crane operator licence.

In a quick response, Minister for Industrial Relations Bill Johnston has requested the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety to start the process of amending the Regulations to make the following changes.

  • Remove the requirement for a high risk work licence (HRWL) when earthmoving machinery with a rated safe working load of three tonnes or less is used as a crane
  • For earthmoving machinery with a rated safe working load exceeding three tonnes, create different HRWL requirements for slewing and non-slewing equipment
    • For equipment that is non-slewing, the HRWL will be crane and hoist operation, non-slewing mobile crane (CN)
    • For equipment that is capable of slewing, HRWL will be crane and hoist operation, mobile crane, basic (C2)

Transition period

There will be a two-year transition period to implement the amended HRWL requirements, meaning they will not come into effect until after 30 March 2024.

We understand the WorkSafe Commissioner will not enforce the current regulation during the transition process.

Industry consultation

The Minister has asked the WorkSafe Commissioner to consult broadly with industry about the best approach to implementing the new licensing requirements.

He has also advised us that the WorkSafe Commissioner has concerns about workplace safety and the training of workers using excavators to lift freely swinging loads. The Master Plumbers Association of WA and all other industry groups agree that safety is a priority and will engage with Government about these concerns. We will, however, argue strongly to ensure any legislated training is relevant and appropriate.

We thank the Minister for acting promptly in response to our concerns and creating the opportunity for us to engage with Government during the transition period.