High Risk Construction

Construction is a High Risk Activity Industry

Workers often work from a height, use dangerous tools and machinery, and carry out tasks on hazardous building sites. So effective risk management policies and procedures are hugely important for keeping employees, contractors, and site-visitors safe from harm.

What is High Risk Work in Construction?

A high-risk workplace is one where the nature of the work involves high-risk activities and processes – for example, major hazardous facilities, construction sites, or sites with mobile plant.

High Risk Work Licences

To undertake certain types of work in construction the worker involved in High Risk Activity must have a High Risk Work Licence. It must be always kept with you for inspection.

A high risk work licence is required to operate some machinery, erect scaffolding, or undertake dogging or rigging work. You need to apply for a high risk work licence and remain compliant with health and safety laws. High risk work licences are valid for five years and recognised nationally: you can work in any state or territory if you have a current HRW licence.

National Licence Perform High Risk Work - NSW - HLH Group

18 High Risk Construction Work (HRCW) Activities

1. Risk Falling - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Risk of a person falling more than 2 metres

2. Risk Telecommunication Tower - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Work on a telecommunication tower

3. Risk Demolition - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Demolition of a load-bearing structure

4. Chemical Fuel Risk - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Work on or near chemical fuel or refrigerant lines

5. Risk Electrical Installation - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Work on or near energised electrical installation or services

6. Risk Flammable Atmosphere - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Work in an area that may have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere

7. Risk Asbestos - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Likely to involve disturbing asbestos

8. Risk Scaffolding - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Temporary load-bearing support for structural alterations or repairs (Scaffolding)

9. Risk Confined Spaces - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Work in or near a confined space

10. Precast Concrete - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Tilt-up or precast concrete elements

11. Risk Near Roads - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Work on, in or adjacent to a road, railway, shipping lane or another traffic corridor in use by traffic other than pedestrians

12. Risk Near Powered Plant - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Work in an area with the movement of a powered mobile plant

13. Risk Use Explosives - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Use of explosives

14. Risk Tunnel- Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Work in or near a shaft or trench deeper than 1.5m or a tunnel

15. Risk Pressurised Gas - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Work on or near pressurised gas mains or piping

15. Risk Pressurised Gas - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Work in areas with artificial extremes of temperature

17. Risk Drowning- Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Work in or near water or other liquid that involves a risk of drowning

18. Diving Work - Safety - HLH Group Sydney

Diving work


A SWMS is a document that sets out the high risk construction work activities to be carried out at a workplace, the hazards arising from these activities and the measures to be put in place to control the risks.

A SWMS must:

  • Identify the work that is high risk construction work
  • Specify hazards relating to the high risk construction work and the risks to health and safety
  • Describe the measures to be implemented to control the risks
  • Describe how the control measures are to be implemented, monitored, and reviewed.

A SWMS Document must be Read, Understood and Signed off by all working parties who are working under the SWMS Document.

A current High Risk Work Licence must be made available for inspection at all times.