What is an elevated work platform?
An elevated work platform (EWP) is a device that can be reduced in size, hinged, linked, or a mixture of these that is employed to strengthen a raised area where people, supplies, or gears are raised up for work reasons.
Is a licence required when working on the EWP?
Since working on an EWP is considered high-risk work, a license is required to operate one. This includes working on booms higher than 11 meters. For booms below 11 meters and scissor lifts, a yellow card will suffice. The EWT licence is issued to people who have passed the EWP worker course at a recognised training provider.
This high-risk or EWP licence is good for five years and should be renewed always before its end date. As a rule, a notice is sent out when the card is nearing its expiration to smooth the progress of its renewal.
Why does working on an EWP require a license?
This platform works at a height, and it is mobile, which adds to the risks. So, workers need to know the dangers that the EWP can pose to persons on and above the ground, especially the crush risk. As with all machinery, EWPs can pose a hazard if not used, maintained, or kept well.
For this reason, manufacturers advice and the technical specifications of each EWP unit must be learned and abided by to avoid injuries. These, along with all aspects of operating the EWP, are covered by the required training before the licence is issued.
EWP minimum training standard
Although most EWPs are employed in construction, each trade must make sure that the minimum training standard is met consistent with the main duty of care responsibility under the laws governing work safety and health for PCBU or Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking. This consists of five elements, as follows:
1. Plant identification
The worker is expected to know how to find and, where appropriate, understand key aspects of the elevated work platform they are expected to use. This includes the access point, operational controls, logbook, all safe operating processes, any safety-related bunting and signage, and any emergency or safety devices, such as the emergency descent panels.
2. Identification and management of hazard
A worker is expected to demonstrate that they have considered any hazard and the related workplace risks, such as the state of the terrain or the operating exterior and ground bearing load. Other risks they are expected to consider are the restricted working area, overhead hazards, entrapment and crush hazards, and nearness of structures and power lines.
On top of these, the EWP operator must consider the weather conditions, underground utilities, and the working reach and height of the EWP. They should also be familiar with the type, dimensions, and mass of contents to be lifted up, access or egress at height, ventilation within the EWP operation space, and other vehicles, people, or platforms in the same area.
3. Pre- and post-start assessments
A EWP operator should know how to find and regulate the hazards associated with the machine they are operating, as well as identify and manage hazards related to the work and task location. They should be able to recognise situations where the aid other staff is required as in the case of the EWP line of vision and communication system.
They are also expected to detect any reasonably possible emergency that can arise and respond accordingly. They will also be able to direct a pre-start ocular checking of the elevated work platform for warnings of damage ahead of switching it on. On top of these, they will ensure that all allied safety equipment, such as the lanyard and harness, is fit for its purpose.
This means an EWP operator can undertake a visual check for signs of damage before starting work and check the logbook of the EWP to ensure that the unit has been properly inspected and maintained as recommended by the manufacturer. No defects or faults with the EWP, such as corrosion, cracked welds, controls that are not working, unclear labelling of the control panel, deformed structure pieces, fluid leaks, defective or damaged tires, attachment point, or harness should be ignored.
It follows, therefore, that a trained EWP operator will be familiar the full range of functions and the control panel of the elevated work platform. This means they can correctly put up outriggers with the selection and usage of pads. Similarly, the worker can check if the control board is completely operational by doing a full series of trial activities.
The operator will check that all alert devices, brakes, and operational procedures are fully working. They are expected to accurately complete the logbook of the EWP, including the detection of any defect or fault when found. And where necessary, take action towards tagging out faulty EWP or equipment and give details of its failed inspection before the operation.
4. Safe general usage
The trained worker is expected to understand the risks and hazards linked to EWP usage, such as its turning cycle, stability, and brakes, among many others. They should also know how to securely operate the elevated work platform, including operation, mobilisation, and retraction. And know the setting of every emergency descent control and understand how to operate them. They also need to know the way to position the EWP so as to ensure an emergency descent without any obstruction. It is anticipated that they will seek help from colleagues and arrange for the line of vision from the field, and hold an agreed communication system.
Also, they will be expected to know how to use exclusion areas, as well as understand their responsibility to other EWP workers. This means knowing when the harness is necessary and the manner of inspecting and ensuring correctly installing it.
A trained EWP operator will also understand the secure work method process or Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) requirements for using the elevated work platform for construction jobs. And have a good understanding of the emergency rescue process.
5. Shutdown and check-up after use
The worker should know the proper way of shutting down, pulling back, and locking the EWP, as well as running a post-use check, and finding and logging of any recent defect or fault in the logbook of the EWP.
This includes giving an account of any fault and defect, as well as knowing who to report this to. Where needed, the worker should also take action towards tagging out the EWP if the faults are apparent at the end of a job or movement and post-use check-up.
These topics are mostly covered in the training course outline. Depending on the Registered Training Organisation (RTO), training may also cover knowledge of relevant laws, as well as the Australian Standards, designed for working at heights and with EWP.
The training may also include advice on methods for risk control aimed at the height work type to be carried out. In most cases, though, applied EWP training is offered to ensure that the trainees can ably and safely work with an EWP.
Elevated Work Platform Licensing NSW
In Newcastle and the Central Coast, a licence to work with boom-type Elevated Work Platforms having at least 11 meters boom length, requires two days. At the Chris Shilling Transport Training, the full EWP ticket fee is $600, plus an added charge of $67 for the licence application fee with Australia Post.
The payment of the fee is due in full on the first day of training and is not subject to refund should the participant decide not to complete the training. On the other hand, upon the successful completion of the EWP Licensing NSW course, the participants will get the required official logbook training, as well as assessment results, which will give them the eligibility to submit an application for an HRW or High-Risk Work Licence.
EWP licence requirements
You can obtain a permit to operate an elevated work platform by meeting the following requirements:
- 18 years old or older;
- Proficiency in the English language because the regulation disallows the use of an interpreter during the official formal assessment;
- Familiarity with technical concepts;
- At the minimum, must have a Year 10 level of communication, mathematical ability, and literacy;
- Can deliver 100 points of identification or evidence of identity;
- Attended the training and assessment in suitable clothing, such as wearing long pants, safety boots, and high-vis top;
- Having completed a standard training with an RTO; and,
- Having been evaluated as capable by the SafeWork NSW official assessor of the RTO.
Take note that a person must be trained, as well as assessed, for the high-risk work licence within the state they normally reside in. If circumstances warrant it, however, SafeWork NSW may approve the application of an interstate dweller. The best example for this exception is when a person has long-term work in NSW even when his normal home address is in another state. In this case, they must get in touch with the SafeWork licensing section directly and may be requested to send an email concerning some details. A written reply is usually sent by SafeWork NSW, although the approval of such a request is not certain.
What does 100 points of identification mean?
To complete the mandated training, all participants must submit 100 points of identification to their trainer on the first day of training. The criteria for this are:
In the absence of primary proof of identity, you may submit instead a mixture of secondary proof of identity, as follows:
(a) Australian defence or Police photo ID
(b) Credit or savings cards or bank statements
(c) Current Australian boat operator’s photo licence
(d) Current Australian driver’s licence or learner driver’s permit
(e) Current Australian issued high-risk work photo licence
(f) Current Centrelink card
(g) Current Medicare card
(h) Current motor vehicle registration or insurance document
(i) Current NSW firearms photo licence
(j) Current state or territory proof of age or photo card
(k) Department of Veterans Affairs card
(l) Home insurance document
(m) Property lease agreement
(n) Property or council rates notice issued in the last three months
(o) Telephone account issued in the last three months
(p) Utility bills issued in the last three months;
Only one primary document is needed, which can either be your:
(a) Australian Birth Certificate or card dispensed by the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages,
(b) International or Australian passport that may be current or has expired within the last 24 months, but not revoked, or
(c) Certificate of Australian citizenship;
- Only original documents are accepted and must show your full name;
- The mixture of documents submitted to the accredited assessor of SafeWork NSW must show your:
(b) Current residential address in NSW
(c) Signature, and,
(d) Photograph; and,
When you opt to submit two or more credit cards, savings account cards or statements, they should be of different financial organizations. The same rule applies to the submission of multiple utility bills.
To be sure you have the required 100 points, and to familiarise yourself with the requirements, visit the SafeWork NSW website at
EWP training assessment process
Training participants are required to complete an array of SafeWork NSW directed assessments well. On the last day, participants undergo written testing. When eligible, this is followed by a practical skills evaluation. All assessments are ‘closed book’, and run by the SafeWork NSW official assessor.
This evaluation is mandatory for all RTOs providing the High-Risk training. Moreover, there may be training participants who end up failing their assessment. However, everyone gets their licence on the first try, and workers should not be deterred by a failure.
In fact, even knowledgeable persons may struggle in answering the technically detailed exam because the answers have to be stated precisely in line with the standards of SafeWork NSW. If this happens to you and you are still keen on getting the EWP licence, your best course of action is to study the lessons in your free time.
Within two months from your previous assessment date, you may return to the same RTO take again the assessment you previously failed. Expect to be charged a fee for this, but it will be a lot less than the amount you paid for your previous training and assessment. Under such circumstances, it would be best to ask about this arrangement beforehand.