Permit Officers – High Risk Work

For high risk work that cannot be done under the Work Clearance with the Minimum Controls Checklists, there is the WPCG Work Permit System which comprises of the WPCG Work Permit and associated High Risk Certificates. Only qualified WPCG Permit Officers are able to issue the WPCG Work Permit and High Risk Certificates.

The system is explained in more detail in the  WPCG Work Authorisation Procedure.

The Activity Matrix can be used to identify what work can be authorised by WPCG accredited contractors, and what authorisations and supporting documents are required as a minimum.  Download the Activity Matrix here.

The following document summarises the Role and Responsibilities of each of the roles in the process. Click here to view Roles and Responsibilites table.

To obtain the Permit Officer accreditation you must attend a 3 day virtual training course, complete an online test, complete 6 buddy work permits with an accredited Permit Officer on WPCG member sites and complete a desktop and field assessment.

Pre-requisites are:

  • current accredited WPCG Clearance Issuer
  • minimum two years oil industry experience or another industry with equivalent work permitting requirements
  • completed pre-requisite national units of competency, conducted by a registered training organization, for Confined Space Entry (MSMPER205 or RIIWHS202E), and Work safely at heights (RIIWHS204E) within the last 2 years
  • completed pre-requisite national units of competency for gas testing (MSMWHS217), conducted by a registered training organization, or demonstrated equivalent gas tester competency via completion of alternative training delivered by another organization which has been authorised in writing and accepted by WPCG within the last 2 years

To apply, login to your account and choose the “Permit Officer” icon, fill in the application form and then submit. We will then get in contact with you with the date of the next course.


The following table lists all Permit Officers that have agreed to have their details on our website.

FAQs for Permit Officers

For a full list of FAQs including the latest changes, please refer to  Frequently Asked Questions

How many people are required on site for a confined space entry?

This is dependent on the confined space.  There must be sufficient workers on-site to complete the task inside the confined space plus a CSE standby. Depending on the confined space and the geographic location there may be additional persons needed on site to affect your rescue plan.  Note: the Permit Officer is not permitted to enter or work in the confined space under their own Work Permit but may perform a dedicated safety role which may include the role of a CSE standby / observer. Remember all work must comply with each states regulators requirements.

There may be some differences between the WPCG member companies in how this Permit to Work program is applied, what are they?

The WPCG Member companies are accountable for communicating any additional requirements that may remain within their organisations and updating you on any changes to individual company requirements.  It should be noted WPCG is a common Authority to Work process and is not a common Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Management System.

Some key requirements of direct relevance to Permit to Work that will remain include:

bp will continue to require its’ Task Risk Assessment Process, known as HITRA, for all Work Permits that require the minimum level of authority to be a Senior Permit Officer.  Senior Permit Officers must be bp HITRA trained, IN ADDITION to being a WPCG Senior Permit Officer.  Contact bp for more information.

Viva Energy considers high risk work at height to be 1.8m, whereas bp considers it to be 2m, and Ampol does not specify.  Notwithstanding this, the risk of falling from one level to another must be considered and as such the Minimum Controls Checklists must be used for heights lower than these.  These heights are merely the triggers related to potential to fall when working within 2m of an exposed edge that would trigger a Work Permit.

What are the industry experience requirements for a new Permit Officer?

Applicants require a minimum of two years oil industry experience or another industry with equivalent Work Permit requirements

How does the Work Authorisation process apply to Principal Contractor arrangements?

The WPCG Work Authorisation process apples to WPCG member facilities sites when there is fuel within bulk site fuel assets.  A WPCG member company may consider equivalent Principal Contractor Permit to Work systems as alternative.  A WPCG member company will approve use of such systems under the contract.  Otherwise it is up to the Principal Contractor to apply the appropriate control of work processes.

If I’m never going to issue a Work Permit with a Confined Space Entry or Working At Heights Certificate do I still need to complete the perquisite training requirements?

You should only issue a Work Permit for which you are competent to issue.

All Permit Officers migrating from Ampol, bp and Viva Energy will be given Recognised Prior Learning for Working at Height with respect to issuing Work Permits.   

For Confined Space Entry, all Confined Space Entry entrants, standby personnel, and Permit Officers are trained in Confined Space Entry to a National Unit of Competence by a Registered Training Organisation and current within the past 3 years.

New Permit Officers will need the pre-requisite external certificates of competence, so that you understand the work and the hazards associated with the work as you will be authorised to issue a Work Permit with those Certificates as a Permit Officer.  You also need to have an understanding of Confined Spaces, in particularly, so that you do not issue a Work Permit for work in a Confined Space if you have not maintained currency of training.  The pre-requisites also serve to minimize the material that WPCG need to present during the Permit Officer training and avoids duplication for those that require the National Unit of Competence for other work purposes.

What if my revalidation is due shortly after the roll out, how do I get 6 Permits and 6 Certificates

We will allow you to submit Permits from member company systems.  The number is being determined and may be on a case by case process.

How do I know if someone has been signed off by WPCG for gas testing?

All new Work Permit Officers will need the pre-requisite external certificates of competence.  All Permit Officers migrating from Ampol, bp and Viva Energy will be given Recognised Prior Learning for gas detector competence with respect to issuing Work Permits.  Note that with Viva Energy and bp you will need to be trained in Confined Space Entry to a National Unit of Competence by a Registered Training Organisation and current within the past 3 years.

Any other Authorised Gas Testers who are not Permit Officers must be able to demonstrate they have completed the required NUC by a RTO; or the Authorised Gas Testers organisation will be required to demonstrate equivalent competency and have this authorised in writing and accepted by WPCG. One way to achieve this might be to have your existing training mapped to the national unit of competence, as defined in WPCG-PRO-01.

How will the Authorised Gas Tester authorisation process work?

The Authorised Gas Tester will need to be competent in a national unit of competence in gas testing, conducted by a registered training organization; or the Authorised Gas Testers organisation will be required to demonstrate equivalent competency and have this authorised in writing and accepted by WPCG. One way to achieve this might be to have your existing training mapped to the national unit of competence and submit this to WPCG for authorisation.

If a Permit Officer & Permit Receiver do everything they could and something goes wrong do I have any protection?

WPCG does not provide professional indemnity or insurance.  Permit Officers and Permit Receivers should seek their own advice on financial protection or insurances and comply with any WPCG Member company minimum requirements for any such insurances carried by their organization in accordance with relevant contractual requirements, as applicable.   

What if there is a minor change like I need to add an electrical tool missed on the permit?

Only the Permit Officer who issued the permit can amend the Work Permit. Otherwise a new Work Permit must be issued.  Any changes must be initialized by the Permit Officer, and the Work Permit must be endorsed by a Permit Endorser at the work site prior to the change being implemented. The Permit Officer does not have to be on site to amend a Permit. However, it is important to note that the Permit Endorser must receive a verbal handover (as a minimum) from the Permit Officer of the change (if they are not the same person) and must endorse the revised Work Permit at the work site.

Does there have to be a hard copy of the Work Permit on site?

A hard copy does not have to be on site. However, there must be a copy available to everyone at the work site.  This may be an electronic version.

What if the Work Permit expires and we need more time?

All work authorised by the Work Permit must stop. A new Work Permit would need to be issued.

Where do we document the training of workers?

The WPCG Process will not cover off all aspects of Work Health and Safety.  It will not be providing a system to document all the training and competencies of your workforce.  It will only be providing information on the training, and currency thereof, in the WPCG Work Clearance, Minimum Controls, and Work Permit processes.

What if there is no site representative present, e.g. unstaffed site or after-hours?

The Permit Officer in such case may be deemed authorized to be the Site Representative and sign this section of the Work Permit if the WPCG member company has authorized them to Permit the work on an unstaffed site or site after-hours.  If in doubt, contact the relevant WPCG member company representative.

Can the endorser work under a Work Permit they are nominated as an endorser for?

Yes, so long as they are not the Permit Officer for the Work Permit.

Why wont the permit pads be in duplicate so there can be a copy with the permit officer and a copy with the permit receiver?

One copy must remain at the work site with the Permit Receiver.  A second copy may be obtained by the Permit Officer, e.g. by photocopying, scanning, printing and signing duplicate, or photographing with their phone (in compliance with requirements with regards to use of phones on site).  It is anticipated that most Work Permits will be issued electronically, once available.  As such there will be a copy available in the cloud for records, and review by the Permit Officer at a later date or off site, in addition to one available on the work site.

How will electronic and paper versions be kept on site if there is only 1 copy and the PO is not staying on site?

Electronic copies can always be retrieved from the WPCG system.  There are other technologies available to make copies as required including copiers/scanners at sites, devices/cameras etc.

What if the Work Permit controls over rule the Work Clearance e.g. Stopping Work when a tanker turns up? Hot work can only recommence 30mins after tanker delivery.

The Work Permit is authorized by a person with greater authority and will take precedence over the Work Clearance including any standard requirements that may be deemed by the Permit Officer as not required (or not sufficient) for a particular task due to the level of risk.  For example, the opposing example to that given may be that the Work Permit requires hot work not to commence for 30mins after tanker delivery and also a repeat of gas testing has been conducted prior to work recommencing.

Once I’m a WPCG Permit Officer can I issue WPCG Work Permits on any site?

This system applies to WPCG Member facilities, the WPCG Member Companies will recognise the WPCG Permit Officer accreditation on their sites within scope of WPCG provided the Permit Officer has been engaged by the WPCG Member Companies or an accredited contractor of the WPCG Member Companies. 

Note; some types of facilities may require additional authorization from the member company to be engaged to issue a WPCG Work Permit on certain types of facilities due to the focus of the WPCG training on the Retail environment.  Examples include Aviation facilities, pipelines and terminals.  Consult the WPCG member company for information on any such requirements.

Is there a way to stop a tick and flick approach by Permit Officers when completing the forms?

WPCG and oil company representatives will be undertaking spot audits in accordance with audit and assurance processes.  A Permit Officer risks losing his or her accreditation if it is found they are not following the correct process.  There will be a fair and transparent process for any such action which, if it were to occur, is likely to be a loss of WPCG accreditation and therefore across all WPCG facilities and not just those at which a particular incident (or series of incidents) occurred.

Can I go straight from probationary to senior PO, if buddy certificates include confined space

Yes, if they can demonstrate the required level of competence, and amongst the Work Permits submitted from the buddy process have at least 2 high risk certificates that require authorization by a Senior Permit Officer for that task.

The Work Authorisation Procedure only mentions the training requirements for Confined Space Entry and Work At Heights for Permit Officers. What about Work Clearance Issuers, Permit Receivers and Permit Endorsers?

Everyone with a role in the WPCG Work Authorisation process must be trained and competent for that role to the requirements of the WPCG Work Authorisation procedure: i.e. Permit Officer, Permit Receiver, Permit Endorser, Work Clearance Issuer, Authorised Gas Tester.

The oil company engaging the work Contractor, or operating the facility, may also have additional training requirements for specific tasks such as Confined Space Entry, Work at Height and wearing of Respiratory Protective Equipment.  You should consult the relevant oil company to confirm requirements for your task.

It is important to note that Permit Officers issuing Work Permits for Confined Space Entry need to be trained in Confined Space Entry to a National Unit of Competence by a Registered Training Organisation and current within the past 3 years. Additionally the same training is required for all confined space entrants, standby personnel and other confined space workers.

Additionally, all workers are expected to be trained and competent for the work they are performing or supervising in accordance with any contractual arrangements with the engaging company, legal requirements and the Contractors’ Safety Management processes.  Re-training or refresher training should be provided as appropriate for a particular workplace. The training frequency should take into account the worker’s competence and their ability to retain competence through regular exposure to the equipment and skills required to perform the task and respond to an emergency.