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 WHS 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 Cert IV WHS?”.

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

The short answer is yes. In practice, the system 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 course before we can grant you recognition of prior learning.

What is Recognition of Prior Learning?

RPL stands for Recognition of Prior Learning. It is a process that checks if you already have the skills and knowledge required to hold the qualification, and therefore don’t need to learn and demonstrate them again during the course. Basically, RPL allows you to get credit for some course units and reduce the number of units you have to study to gain a qualification.

Who can apply for RPL?

RPL is possible if you have recent and relevant experience with safety-related work responsibilities, life experiences, or have completed previous training in this area. Once you start your 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 WHS 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?

Recognition depends heavily on whether you can prove that you already possess the skills and knowledge required to hold the qualification. RPL Assessors use evidence you provide to see if your experiences correspond to the competencies of the 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 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?

RPL is assessed on a per-unit basis. During the RPL process, you specify which units you wish to gain through RPL and then gather documents 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.

emember, 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, you will need to complete those units through the normal training process.


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 fulfill 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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