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Everything You Need to Know About Licenses for Construction Equipment

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Completing any construction project is always a big undertaking. It’s a substantial logistical challenge to get all the necessary personnel, materials, and equipment all in the right place simultaneously. But another key aspect of any construction job is ensuring that all equipment operators are up to speed on the necessary certifications and licenses they may require.

Experienced construction workers will be used to dealing with licenses, but even seasoned workers can easily be caught out from time to time by a change in the rules or the emergence of new technology that results in a skills gap among the team on the job site. 

Any unlicensed operation of a construction vehicle can quickly become unsafe for everyone involved, so it’s critical that construction teams ensure compliance at all times.

With this in mind, here’s what you need to know about licenses for construction equipment. 

The Guidelines of the Work Health and Safety Act

In 2011, Safe Work Australia sought to introduce a set of work health and safety laws that would become the standard across Australia. The momentum brought about the development of the Work Health and Safety Act (WHSA). 

Although it’s important to note that there may be some variation across Australia when it comes to its exact implementation and how it is enforced, the WHSA (along with some related regulations) is essentially a cornerstone on which relevant laws surrounding licenses and certification are based. This is always a solid starting point when looking to establish whether construction equipment will require a certification or license to operate.

Below, we’ve broken down the licensing requirements for some of the most common construction equipment to give you a solid starting point when looking into the regulations surrounding these tools.

Dump Truck Licenses

Pursuing a career as a dump truck driver can be a great option given the persistent demand for drivers, especially in the mining sector

This said, it does require some special training. Typically, a training course that lasts less than a week and involves both written and practical work. The good news is that once you’ve completed the course, you can use your certification in your home state or around Australia.

Posi Track Licenses

Similar to the dump truck, there are a number of certifications available across Australia that equip a construction professional with the skills needed to operate a posi track safely. 

Such a course will provide you with necessary in-class instruction, as well as the chance to get in some practical training on a machine before using it for real out on a job site. It’s also a great starting point for anyone looking to build proficiency when it comes to operating a range of earthmoving equipment.

Excavator Licenses

The ability to operate an excavator previously required a license, but today that is not the case. However, this doesn’t mean that just anyone can climb abroad and start operating the controls — operators are still expected to adhere to certain guidelines and pass a competency test before being allowed to work.

Regulations and Requirements Can Be Subject to Change

When dealing with construction licenses and regulations, it’s important to remember that laws and requirements can evolve. If someone has been overseas for a few years or working in a different field before returning to construction, they may feel that operating construction equipment is just like riding a bike or may assume that their previous training will suffice.

However, new regulations may apply, and it’s always crucial to research the current license requirements, especially when it comes to construction equipment. Beyond the legal ramifications of non-compliance, the consequences of misusing a machine can be grave if they involve the health and safety of the construction crew. 

Of course, it’s unlikely that the law would see major changes in a short period of time, but it’s always best to play it safe, so be sure to double check your state or territory’s rules before starting up a piece of construction equipment to ensure itás operation is in compliance.

What has your experience been like getting a license for construction equipment? Let us know in the comments below.


Image: SPH (Facebook)

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