The Occupational Safety and Health Tribunal has affirmed a decision of the Worksafe Commissioner to not grant the applicant registration as a High Risk Work Licence Assessor in a number of classes.
In May 2019, the applicant applied to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, WorkSafe Division, for registration as an assessor for licences to perform high risk work in five different classes. In November 2019, the applicant was advised that his experience in relation to two classes was sufficient and he was invited to undertake the assessors’ examinations for those classes.
In December 2019, an officer of WorkSafe advised the applicant that he did not have sufficient experience to qualify for the remaining three licences, as the experience he provided was not industry operational experience in operating the relevant cranes. The applicant was advised that the experience must be a minimum of three years, recent, relevant, and varied operational industry experience. On 6 December 2019, the applicant requested the WorkSafe Commissioner to ‘overturn’ the decision of the officer. In January 2020, The WorkSafe Commissioner advised the applicant that his experience in a training environment or in the commissioning of equipment, was not considered industry operational experience.
The WorkSafe Commissioner contended that his decision in refusing to grant the applicant the licences should be affirmed. This was because the applicant had not demonstrated the appropriate minimum experience, being three years of extensive and recent operating experience, in the relevant classes to meet the requirements for granting an assessor registration, pursuant to reg 6.22(2)(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (WA) (OSH Regulations).
The applicant contended that the experience he submitted to the WorkSafe Commissioner was sufficient for registration as a HRWL assessor in all three classes. The applicant disagreed with the WorkSafe Commissioner’s submissions, that his experience obtained in a registered training organisation (RTO) setting ought to be given less weight than that obtained in an industrial operating setting.
Commissioner Walkington accepted the WorkSafe Commissioner’s submissions concerning the requirement to ensure that assessor registration only be granted to people with sufficient demonstrated and evidenced operational experience. She found that, in the context of a training environment, the absence of specific information that records the details of the activities undertaken, and the environment, noting any hazards or risks, cannot demonstrate that the requirements of reg 6.22 of the OSH Regulations have been met.
Walkington C found that the experience cited by the applicant was expressed in general terms and not verified or confirmed by the RTO. Also, the description of the work undertaken was not of varied activities. The Commissioner also found that the photographs of the equipment, facilities and sites on which the applicant conducted training of persons for high risk work licences, did not provide the detail required to assess the task being performed, did not show the nature of the environment and that it was not possible to identify the skills necessary by reviewing the photographs.
Commissioner Walkington concluded that the applicant’s description of his experience was not detailed enough and did not meet the requirements of the OSH Regulations.
The Tribunal affirmed the Worksafe Commissioner’s decision.
The decision can be read here.