What actions can inspectors take?
WorkSafe inspectors have legislated powers to enter your workplace during working hours, or when there is an immediate risk to anyone, to assess compliance with health and safety laws.
Require you to provide information
Inspectors also have the authority to require access to people and information at your workplace, including:
- names and addresses
- conducting interviews and making enquiries
- taking photographs, recordings and measurements
- taking possession of items for examination, testing or for use as evidence
- taking samples of substances or objects
- requiring documents to be produced for examination and copying
- calling in other people to assist them, including technical or scientific experts, interpreters or police officers.
Require you to fix any safety issues
After making enquiries with the people responsible for providing a safe workplace, health and safety representatives and other relevant parties, inspectors have the authority to issue:
- Improvement notices – these are written directions requiring a person to fix an issue within a specified time. The inspector will include information on the notice about what must be done to comply with the law. The person who receives the notice is responsible for achieving compliance with legislation or dealing with the immediate risk.
- Prohibition notices – these are written directions prohibiting any activity that will, or is likely to, involve an immediate risk to the health and safety of any individual. If a prohibition notice has been issued, the prohibited activity cannot recommence until an inspector certifies in writing that the risk has been remedied.
An inspector may also recommend a comprehensive investigation by WorkSafe to determine whether the contravention of OHS laws warrants prosecution or other action, even if notices have already been issued.
Inspectors also have authority to:
- review a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) issued by a health and safety representative and confirm, modify or cancel it
- review a worker(s) decision to cease work due to safety concerns
- issue a non-disturbance notice to prevent disturbance to an incident scene.
Disputing an inspectors decision
If you dispute an inspector's findings at your workplace you can apply for a Review of an inspector's decision.
Find out more
Read our publication How inspectors support and enforce health and safety at work for more information about the role of inspectors.