Construction Industry White Cards: Digital Won’t Do

Though the world is rapidly embracing digital solutions for virtually any problem, there are plenty of situations and environments where an analogue approach might be better. The construction industry is one such setting, especially in Queensland, where physical white cards are essential to access and work on a site. There are several key reasons for this, and it’s necessary to know where and when to get these white cards so you can work unimpeded. With this in mind, here is a comprehensive guide on using white cards in the construction industry and why digital won’t cut it (yet).

What is a white card?

A white card, or a general construction induction training card, shows that you understand the main principles of workplace health and safety, the hazards of a building site and how to control any risks that emerge. This is also proof that you completed an induction with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) – of which there are plenty in Queensland and beyond. While the card you receive is specific to the state you complete the training in, Queensland induction cards are still valid in other states and vice versa. This permits you to work on construction sites across the entire country.

Why do you need a physical card?

Though some states allow you to display your white card on a digital device, Queensland only permits physical cards. This has clear advantages in any setting, but especially in construction. Your device can break or otherwise lose power at an inopportune moment, making it difficult (if not impossible) to prove your credentials without a physical card. A physical card can also save time, being easy to pull out of your pocket or even clip onto your uniform. This is much quicker than unlocking a device and waiting for it to load your card.

Other concerns you might consider include the possibility of someone duplicating a white card by taking a high-quality image or screenshot. This might not seem too likely, but it’s still a potential security threat – and a physical induction card is much more challenging to duplicate completely. Suppose somebody without a valid white card can access a work site. In that case, they might put themselves and others at risk due to not knowing the correct safety procedures. Digital cards are available in New South Wales and the Northern Territory but not Queensland.

Construction sites can have poor mobile reception or no internet access, which could impact your ability to present your white card to the relevant personnel. Physical cards are a quick and easy way to demonstrate that you’re allowed on the site. Others can trust you to follow the correct safety protocols. If those around you have confidence in your abilities and know you’ve passed the requisite training courses, you’ll be able to work a lot better as a team. This collaboration is another key reason for ensuring you always have your induction card ready.

How to obtain a white card

If you want to get your induction card, look into local RTOs to find an organisation near you and book a course with them. Make sure you check the price and reviews beforehand, as this guarantees you get value for money and that you receive specialised, high-quality industry training that adequately prepares you for a construction job. After completing the training, you’ll receive a Statement of Attainment and a white card – though this can also come in the post, which takes a few days. The course takes about 5 hours and lets you pay online; the fees are also tax-deductible.

You’ll also need to bring three documents to the workshop that prove your identity, including:

  • a birth certificate
  • passport
  • student card
  • driver’s licence
  • debit card
  • or other types of ID

On top of this, you’ll need to create a Unique Student Identifier (USI) if you don’t already have one; you can do this online for free. Other requirements include a basic level of English alongside literacy and numeracy skills, showing you understand verbal and written instructions. This course must be face-to-face in Queensland, though if you live more than 100km from an RTO, you can apply for an online equivalent.

Who needs a white card?

While the white card’s primary purpose is to show that you have completed a training course and can work on a site, rookies and other new hires aren’t the only construction staff that must carry this card. Even a supervisor, surveyor or manager at the site requires a white card to show their understanding of the risks they contend with daily. Even if you aren’t a construction worker, you might need to enter a construction zone regularly for your job, which still requires a white card. Anybody who accesses this zone without an escort also requires a white card.

If you haven’t worked on a construction site for two years or more, you must take another training course to ensure your skills are still sharp. There may also be changes in how the industry handles risks that you might not be aware of. In this case, an updated training course can ensure you know the best procedures to follow. If you lose your white card, you should work to replace it immediately, though this does incur a small fee. If you need to change your contact details, such as your name, you may update your white card to match.

Invest in your future today

A white card is paramount if you intend to work or regularly attend an operational construction site – and your only option in Queensland is a physical card. This protects your data and is often more convenient than a digital equivalent. What’s more, there seems to be no sign of this system changing anytime soon.

For more information on Globe Group and how we can help both employers and job seekers, get in touch today.