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85% of SMEs unaware their WHS licences have expired

Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores
20 October 2020 1 minute readShare
WHS licences have expired

An overwhelming majority of small to medium businesses are unaware they have let mandatory health and safety training qualifications and licences expire or are missing mandatory evidence, according to a WHS consultant.

According to Industry OneCARD founder Kareena Waters, the management of training and licences records has always been a pain in the backside across all industries, and companies are currently facing a perfect storm of reduced administration, extended downturn and extra training due to COVID-19.

She said common areas where non-compliance exists include: 

  • High-risk work licences
  • Electrical licences
  • Working at heights and confined space entry training
  • Employer keeping records of valuable in-house training
  • First aid and CPR
  • Lack of collecting correct evidence from inductions and mandatory onboarding training including manual task
  • The ability for employers to prove they have ensured a person is competent to use or operate machinery

“Add to these challenges, the changes across the country in WHS laws which now makes it impossible for companies and directors to insure against the fines and penalties of non-compliance, the simple fact an employee is without correct evidence of training or an expired licence could have catastrophic consequences for many companies,” Ms Waters said.

Ms Waters said the COVID-19 pandemic has also led to an increase in workplace training, in particular in defence, engineering and health industries as more government funding becomes widely available.

However, she said some companies are not well equipped to manage those records and they are now seeing a high number of expired licences and missing records when they are onboarding new members.

“A common occurrence is the employee has a copy but has failed to provide this to their employer which leaves the company very exposed to non-compliance,” Ms Waters said.

“The management of employee competency records and skill matrix is a crucial part of a company’s Integrated Management System (IMS) and is often overlooked or addressed with a band-aid approach.

“The Australian government has just released some exciting funding to help Australian businesses increase capability including training, review and update of management systems.”

85% of SMEs unaware their WHS licences have expired
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Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores is the deputy editor of MyBusiness. Before that, he was the deputy editor for SMSF Adviser as well as features editor for ifa (Independent Financial Adviser), InvestorDaily, Risk Adviser, Fintech Business and Adviser Innovation.

You can email Adrian at [email protected].

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