THE Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has called for change on safety training across Australia’s construction worksites after finding that many Registered Training Organisations fail to comply with White Card assessment requirements.

According to the Training for the White Card for Australia’s Construction Industry report, a projected employment growth of 12% by 2016-17 will bring an additional 131,200 construction workers into the workforce, prompting a review of the mandatory White Card training practices in Australia.

The report found that although the federal government continues to implement new laws harmonising OHS White Card requirements for all high-risk roles across Australia, the assessment requirements for White Card accreditation are variant from state to state.

While most Registered Training Organisations were found to be compliant in meeting assessment requirements, the report showed that some delivered theory-based courses online in under an hour, despite industry best practice expecting on-site experience during a six-hour program.

“Three-quarters of the registered training organisations audited during the review were found to be compliant with the standard relating to Construction White Card assessment practices,” ASQA chief commissioner Chris Robinson said.

“But it is a concern that almost one quarter of the RTOs audited did not meet the standards and could be compromising the safety of Australian workers.”

In particular, the report pointed to significant issues in online accreditation programs and identity verification.

“The review indicated that identity verification in the large and growing number of online White Card programs is not sufficient to guarantee that the person completing the assessment is the person who receives the accreditation card,” Mr Robinson said.

As part of the review, six recommendations were made to standardise White Card accreditation assessment, covering assessment quality, program duration and the verification of identity in online courses.

To read the report in full, click here.