Your RPL Guide for the Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety

Your RPL Guide for the Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety

Cert IV Work Health and Safety and the RPL Process

One of the most common questions we get asked at Inspire Education from new and existing safety professionals is “Can I get recognition of prior learning for my experience and previous training in safety and apply it to the Certificate IV Work Health and Safety?”.

If you have work experience relevant to work health and safety and want to enhance your current career (even start a new one in safety) with this nationally recognised qualification, you may be wondering the same thing.

The short answer is yes. In practice, the system and assessment process for recognising your life and work experience requires you to provide the right kinds of evidence that we can match to the learning outcomes of the work health and safety course. This is all before we can grant you recognition of prior learning.

We need to know if you have a substantial knowledge base for work health and safety via skills assessment through the whole RPL process. You may have past experiences and training that may be considered equivalent competencies for the Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety, or the Diploma of Work Health and Safety course.

What is Recognition of Prior Learning?

man thinking about RPL qualifications

RPL stands for Recognition of Prior Learning. It is a process that checks if you already have existing skills and knowledge required to hold the qualification, and therefore don’t need to learn and demonstrate them again during the course.

Basically, the RPL process allows you to get credit for some course units and reduce the number of units you have to study to gain a qualification.

Once you have your skills recognised, then you’ll be eligible for RPL.

Who can apply for Work Health Safety RPL?

WHS student undergoing RPL assessment for work health and safety course

RPL is possible if you have recent and relevant experience with safety-related work responsibilities, WHS management systems, life experiences, or have completed previous training from a registered training organisation in this industry.

Once you start your nationally recognised course, you will speak with an RPL Assessor who will advise you on what documents you need to submit as evidence of your prior learning.

In other words, you can apply for RPL if you:

  1. Hold qualifications with units related to occupational health and safety,
  2. Have relevant and recent work experience and
  3. Have evidence that proves your background

For example, if you are a safety representative that recently advised your organisation on its occupational health and safety duties and requirements, then you may already have the skills taught in unit BSBWHS402A – Assist with compliance and Work Health and Safety laws.

Recognition will be given if you can submit proof of this role and of other similar skills covered by the unit.

What kind of evidence do I need to submit?

evidence vector for work health and safety recognition of prior learning rpl assessment

Recognition depends heavily on whether you can provide evidence that you already possess the skills and knowledge required to hold the qualification.

RPL Assessors use the evidence you provide to see if your experiences correspond to the competencies of the work health and safety course.

Some examples of acceptable evidence are:

  1. Documents you created or contributed to like inspection reports and risk assessments
  2. Work logs and records of your recent safety-related duties in your workplace
  3. References from your supervisors or employers
  4. Copies of certificates, diplomas or statements of attainment of your existing qualifications

In many cases, you’ll need additional evidence or a combination of several of these documents to gain recognition of prior learning.

The evidence you submit will be examined by an RPL assessor and compared to the learning outcomes of the course.

If the evidence shows you already have the required skills and knowledge, you will be granted credit towards the qualification.

How many units can I get recognised for?

registered training organisations discussing rpl process for workhealth and safety

RPL is assessed on a per-unit basis. During the RPL process, you specify which units (core units or elective units) you wish to gain through RPL and then gather documents for further evidence to support your claim.

You can gain RPL for a single unit of competency, all 10-course units, or for any number of units here in between.

Remember, if you are not able to provide sufficient evidence to support your claim for RPL, or the evidence you provide does not demonstrate the skills and knowledge required for work health and safety, you will need to complete those units through the normal work health and safety training process.

For reference, here are some of the most important skills and knowledge required for work health and safety:

  • Being familiar with WHS risk management tools
  • Knowledge on implementing WHS management systems and WHS information system
  • Familiarity with WHS laws
  • Can assess WHS risks within a workplace
  • Maintenance of WHS consultation and participation processes
  • Able to perform emergency procedures if the need arises
  • Oversee WHS hazards
  • Lead initial response and investigate WHS incidents
  • Spearhead efforts for continuous improvement of Work Health and Safety in the workplace


Recognition of Prior Learning is a very useful tool to gain the Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety.

It can significantly shorten the length of time it takes you to gain this useful industry qualification, but you must be able to fulfil the evidence requirements.

If you are unsure of whether you have enough experience and evidence to qualify for RPL, simply enquire to speak with your RPL Assessor.

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