EWPA yellow cards licensing and training explained

Every state in Australia has an Occupational Health and Safety Act (OH&S) or have adopted the new Work Health and Safety (WHS), Act 2011, which aims to protect the health, safety and welfare of people at work. In these acts, it is clearly stated that there is a duty of care to ensure workplace safety.

OHS Act 2000

Employers must provide information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure the health and safety of employees at work.

Manufacturers and suppliers of plant must ensure equipment is safe to use when properly used and must make adequate information available about the conditions for the safe use of the equipment manufactured or supplied. Employees must co-operate with efforts to comply with OHS requirements.

WHS Act 2011

Duties of a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU).

A PCBU/employer has the primary duty of care to ensure the health and safety of workers while they are at work in the business or undertaking. A PCBU/employer is also responsible for ensuring work carried out does not carry risk to the health and safety of others. 

The PCBU/Employer must:

  1. Provide and maintain a safe work environment
  2. Provide and maintain safe plant and structures
  3. Provide and maintain safe systems of work
  4. Ensure the safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances
  5. Provide adequate facilities (and ensure access is maintained)
  6. Provide instruction, training, information and supervision
  7. Monitor the health of workers and conditions at the workplace

What this means

In reality, there needs to be some form of proof that the operator has been trained in the safe use of an elevating work platform (EWP). Verbal instruction is not an effective method of training. The EWP Operator Training Program or ‘Yellow Card’ is the result of the EWPA helping the industry to comply with the acts. The intention of this program is to assist operators, employers, equipment owners and manufacturers to comply with the WHS regulation.

How does it work?

The EWP Operator Licence or "Yellow Card" as it is commonly known, is proof of completion in one or more modules in various types of EWPs. There are five different EWP training modules plus a transport module.

The modules include:

  • Trailer Lift - TL
  • Self Propelled Boom Lift - BL
  • Vertical Lift - VL
  • Scissor Lift - SL
  • Truck Mounted Lift - TM
  • Transporting (Load restraint) - T

Different types of EWP

While these are all classed as EWPs, each one is very different in use and safe operation. The transport module is aimed at transporters of EWPs and allocators. The EWPA ‘Yellow Card’ is a nationally recognised industry training program mapped to Unit of Competence (UoC) RIIHAN301D Operate Elevating Work Platforms, developed by the EWPA in consultation with members and industry.


The ‘Yellow Card’ provides evidence that the operators of specific types of EWPs have been trained in the safe use of that type of work platform. The site specific training given by AuSKIL meets and exceeds Unit of Competence RIIHAN301D Operate Elevating Work Platforms. The supplier, employer and user all have documentary evidence of the training received. This can be verified on the EWPA website.

What are the alternatives?

The EWPA Yellow Card is the Association’s method of meeting industry needs for EWP training. Other methods include having in-house training schemes or user specific programs. All programs need to include a structured training format delivered by a qualified trainer, with training content that meets or exceeds the Australian Standard 2550.10, and manufacturer's safe operating procedures in line with the Unit of Competency RIIHAN301D Operate Elevating Work Platforms.

What if I do nothing?

A blatant disregard of the Act will result in hefty fines and or jail, and that's if your lucky enough to get caught before a life changing injury or fatality occurs on your site to either you or your employees. We all have a responsibility for workplace health and safety, every employee has the right of a safe place to work.

11m boom license (TLILIC2005A) (WP)

This "high risk work" licence is regulated by each State and Territory Regulatory Authority (SafeWork/WorkCover NSW for instance), and covers boom type EWP’s (truck mount, trailer mount and self-propelled), capable of reaching 11 metres and over ONLY.

It is a common misconception that this licence covers scissor lifts and vertical lifts as it is a longer course duration and covers larger machines.

Put simply, it does not touch on the safe use of scissor lifts or vertical lifts in the course delivery so it cannot be considered to be appropriate training for these machine types  in a court of law.

Do I need both a yellow card and WP licence?

If the operator is to only operate an EWP, self-propelled, truck or trailer mounted above 11 metre then the operator must comply with state or national regulation for high risk work licensing. For operators of any boom type EWPs under 11 metres or scissor lifts (of any height) and vertical mast/personal lifts must obtain training so that compliance with the WHS and OHS regulation is met. This can be confusing but an example may clarify the point.

Example 1

You have just gained your over 11m boom licence WP using a mobile elevating work platform with a boom length of 11.2m. The next day you are required to operate a scissor lift with a 18 metre platform height. Both EWPs and are over 11m but very different units.


The high risk licence identifies that scissor type EWPs are not covered under the EWP high risk license. However the operator of the scissor lift is required by regulation to be trained in its safe operation. The Yellow Card is an industry driven and Nationally recognised training that provides the holder with evidence of training in a particular type of EWP. It is based on EWP product type and not boom length.

Example 2

Another example is the case of the operator having a high risk WP license for a boom lift which was originally obtained on a trailer lift with a boom length of 13m. The operator is now required to use a self-propelled boom lift with a boom length of 35m. 


The operator has the required High Risk license but no proof of training on this very different type of EWP. Yellow Card training would be required for this different type of EWP before using it.

In summary

The OHS and the WHS Acts and Regulations are there to protect you in the workplace.

The EWPA Operator Licence (Yellow Card) is an industry initiative helping to provide a safer working environment for all stake holders. It is a nationally recognised program with a national database and aligned to the National Unit of Competency, RIIHAN301B or the updated RIIHAN301D - Operate Elevating Work Platforms.

The WP class high risk work licence issued by the state regulator (WorkCover/SafeWork NSW), is only required when operating Boom Type EWP's capable of reaching 11 meters or greater, regardless of high high the work is to be performed at. An example of the high risk work licence is below.

EWP Yellow Card Course overview

This one day training program is designed for people who wish to or are required to develop the skills and knowledge needed to operate elevated work platforms. Participants may complete singular or multiple machine classes according to the type of work they will be undertaking.

The Yellow Card is valid for five years from the date of training, an email will be sent to each individual at the time of renewal inviting them to renew for another five years. The renewal fee will be approximately $50 and may involve a short video refresher and assessment to be undertaken to ensure currency and competency of your skills.

Machine classes are: Vertical Lift (VL), Scissor Lift (SL), Self Propelled Boom (BL), Trailer lift (TL), and Truck Mounted lift (TM).


Participants should be at least 18 years of age. Operating restrictions apply for those under 18 years of age.

All participants MUST be able to speak, write and understand English in order to complete the course no exceptions or translators are allowed.

All participants are required to supply a personal email address so the renewal of the Yellow Card every five years can be processed without delay.

All participants MUST be able willing to participate and operate the equipment during the practical part of the training. If you are scared of heights, this course is obviously not for you...


Approximately 6 hours, depending upon class size and prior knowledge and experience.

Fees and charges

EWPA recommends a course fee of $400/person in Sydney Metro areas. Call auSKIL for your own customised quote!

Class Size

Classes are a minimum 2 to a maximum of 10 people.


Upon successful completion of the course your record of training is processed by the EWPA you will receive an email with your licence number that can be used as an interim licence.

An interim record of training from auSKIL can also be provided to you on the day of training if requested and this can be used when operating machinery until you receive the yellow card in the mail. The EWP Operator Yellow Card will be posted within three weeks.

Statement of Attainment Certificate

You will also be able to apply for a Statement of Attainment Certificate for RIIHAN301D Operate Elevated Work Platform, if required by your workplace. Please advise at least 24 hours prior to course commencement if you require a Statement of Attainment to be issued as there additional paperwork to complete and a extra $55 fee per person.


Please advise auSKIL if you have not received your card within 60 days of training, if you let us know within that time frame, we can liaise with the EWPAA to have it reissued free of charge. After 60 days you will have to pay $30 for the card to be reissued.

Change of address

Each trained operator will also be responsible for updating their change of address details with the EWPAA should they move, so that the 5 year renewal can be completed in time otherwise retraining may be necessary.

Contact us

Remember, auSKIL can provide suitably qualified, insured and experienced EWP Operators for your next job should you decide not to receive the training option at competitive rates.

Call auSKIL now on 0412 706 061 to book in your on-site training course or email michael@auskil.com.au