New WHS Act: Authorisations

In preparation for the implementation of the new Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WHS Act) we have been going through an overview of some of the key elements involved. Last week we focused on Incident Notification, this week it is all about Authorisations.

What are authorisations?

Examples of authorisations include, but are not limited to licences, permits and registrations.

What are authorisations required for?

Authorisations are required for the use of some plant and substances, and certain types of work.


Items of plant that require registration of their design will be listed by the WHS regulations. Some examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Boom type elevating platforms
  • Pre-fabricated scaffolding systems
  • Gas cylinders
  • Tower cranes
  • Mast climbing platforms
  • Mobile cranes, other than tow trucks with safe working load greater than 10 tonnes
  • Work boxes
  • Pressure equipment

A PCBU must not direct or allow a worker to use plant or a substance if the WHS regulations require it, or its design, to be authorised and it is not.


Certain duties require licences or authorisations in order to perform those duties for example (but not limited to):

  • Scaffolding
  • Rigging work
  • Crane and hoist operation
  • Forklift operation
  • Pressure equipment operation
  • Asbestos removal
  • Demolition

The WHS regulations will list certain high-risk work that must only be performed by people who have been authorised (for example, licensed) to carry out that type of work.

A PCBU must not direct or allow a worker to carry out work if it is required to be done by an authorised person and the worker is not authorised.


The WHS regulations will require certain types of work to be carried out only by, or supervised by, a person with prescribed qualifications or experience.

Note: Other non-WHS legislation may include licensing, registration, or similar requirements for some occupations e.g., Dangerous Goods Safety Act 2004, and Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth).

*Disclaimer: Please note this communication is provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice, only a Legal Practicing Professional can provide legal advice.