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New medical gas licensing scheme begins 1 November 2020

A new licensing scheme for medical gas systems in medical facilities will begin on 1 November 2020.

This follows the amendment of the Gas and Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2017 and the Home Building Act 1989. 

From 1 November 2020, there will be three new categories of specialist work in the Home Building Act: 

  • medical gasfitting work
  • medical gas technician work 
  • mechanical services and medical gas work.

Transitional arrangements will be in place to allow people in the medical gas industry who do this work to gain the appropriate qualifications and licences in time for licensing requirements to begin on 1 May 2021 or 1 May 2022. 

When the changes start

From 1 November 2020:

  • for medical gasfitting and medical gas technician work, people can continue to do medical gas work but must apply for a licence to continue beyond 1 May 2021
  • medical gasfitting work, medical gas technician work and mechanical services and medical gas work must comply with the relevant Australian Standard 
  • new requirements for reporting serious medical gas accidents begin. 

From 1 May 2021:

  • a licence will be required to carry out medical gasfitting work and medical gas technician work 
  • new requirements for safety and compliance testing will begin 
  • new requirements for the rectification of non-compliant work will also begin. 

From 1 May 2022:

  • a licence will be required to carry out mechanical services and medical gas work.

Licence types

From 1 November 2020, there will be three licence types that allow the three categories of medical gas work to be performed:

1. Tradespersons certificate 
Under this licence, any medical gas work completed by the holder of a tradesperson certificate must be overseen and signed off by someone who holds an endorsed contractor licence or supervisor certificate. A person with a tradespersons certificate must do work under the supervision and in accordance with the directions of a qualified supervisor.

2. Supervisor certificate 
This licence permits a person to undertake the work they have been licensed for and to supervise others doing the same work. 

You cannot be self-employed with this licence. You must be employed by a person, company or partnership that holds an endorsed contractor licence. 

3. Endorsed contractor licence 
This licence allows the holder to carry out the work, supervise, contract and advertise work described on their licence card.

Endorsed contractor licence cards have a ‘Q’ printed on them to show they are equivalent to a supervisor certificate (which allows them to supervise and carry out the work described on their card).

The endorsed contractor licence allows you to work for yourself as a subcontractor or sole trader. 

Training requirements for licences

There are important new training and qualification requirements before people can apply for the licences above. 

Applicants will need to complete two units of competency before applying for a licence: 

  • Install Medical Gas Pipeline Systems
  • Carry out Work Health and Safety requirements.

These units can be completed through the Install Medical Gas Pipeline Systems course, which provides participants with the skills and knowledge to safely install and test medical gas pipelines for use in hospitals and other medical facilities. 

Course participants will learn the requirements for installing medical gas pipelines in relation to the Australian Standards (AS) 2896-2011, by taking part in practical fabrication activities and pipework installation exercises simulating real life examples.

The course is designed for registered and/or licensed plumbers or gasfitters and current apprentices.

Please note: this training is not required for people with an engineering degree or other suitable university degree who apply for a medical gas technician licence.

Service Trades College is currently the only registered training organisation providing this course in NSW. The course is run at the PICAC Glenwood Campus in NSW and the PICAC Beenleigh Campus in South Brisbane, QLD. The course involves three days of onsite training. 

Prospective students need to submit an expression of interest in the course and they will be contacted by Service Trades College.

Visit the Service Trades College website for more information. 

Qualification and experience requirements

To be granted a licence to undertake medical gas fitting work, the applicant must:

  • meet the qualification requirements as listed by work category on the medical gas systems page
  • have a referee verify the applicant has two years’ experience in the specialist work category (after the above qualifications had or have been obtained)
  • have completed the two units of competency training (this training is not required for people with an engineering degree or another suitable university degree who apply for a medical gas technician licence)
  • demonstrate they have the capability to perform the work covered by the licence they’re applying for.

For more information visit the medical gas systems page. 

Please note: 

  • The applicant must have at least two years of experience in the relevant medical gas work. This experience needs to have taken place after their qualifications had or have been obtained. 
  • A person can have medical gas fitting work and medical gas technician work approved and added to their licence. However, a person cannot commission and sign off on their own work. Their work will need to be commissioned and signed off by another qualified person who did not do any of the work themselves.

Applying for the correct licence

Applicants need to decide which type of licence they require and then apply for the relevant medical gas categories. 

The relevant medical gas category can be added to an existing licence held by an applicant, if the training experience and capability requirements have been met.

For information on fees and the application process, visit the Fair Trading website

Applications for a medical gas work licences will be open from 1 November 2020. 

Apprentices and trainees

From 1 November 2020 until 1 May 2021, apprentices and trainees continue to work as usual under the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act 2001. 

From 1 May 2021, apprentices and trainees must be supervised by a qualified supervisor under the Home Building Act 1989 if they are providing mechanical services and medical gas work, medical gasfitting work and medical gas technician work. The Act sets out requirements that apply to qualified supervisors who are supervising an apprentice or trainee. 

If you are not an apprentice or trainee

If you don’t have the qualifications to hold a licence on 1 May 2021, and you are not an apprentice or trainee, then you will need to:

  • undertake the training to meet the qualification requirements, and 
  • undertake the necessary two years’ experience after obtaining the qualification requirements to be eligible to hold a licence.

This is required in order to continue to work in the industry after 1 May 2021.

Mutual recognition of interstate licences

Fair Trading may offer mutual recognition of interstate licences that authorise medical gas work.

For more information, or to apply for mutual recognition, visit the NSW Fair Trading website.

More information

This information is available on the Department of Customer Service website - please continue to check online for updates. 

For more information on the medical gas regulatory scheme, email HBL_Information@customerservice.nsw.gov.au or call 13 22 20.

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