Health and safety in sex work

An introduction to WorkSafe's health and safety guidance for the sex work industry.


Decriminalisation of sex work

Decriminalisation is the removal of criminal penalties from certain activities. The Sex Work Decriminalisation Act 2022 decriminalises sex work between consenting adults. It also ends the sex work licensing system.

Decriminalisation helps ensure sex work is safe work. It maximises sex workers’ safety, health and human rights. Decriminalisation reduces stigma and discrimination against sex workers. It also improves sex workers' access to health, justice and other essential services.

Decriminalisation recognises that sex work is real work. It should be regulated through existing laws, like all other industries in the state.

Criminal offences to protect children and employees remain. State and federal agencies continue to enforce non-consensual sex work and related crimes.

Occupational health and safety

Occupational health and safety involves protecting the health, safety and welfare of employees and other people. It's commonly called OHS.

If you work in the sex industry you have the right to be safe at work. The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 is a law that helps keep you safe. It's known as the OHS Act. The OHS Act also helps keep clients, contractors, suppliers and other people safe. It does this by setting rules to identify hazards and control risks. A hazard is something that can cause harm. A risk is the chance of a hazard causing harm. Harm includes injury, illness or death.

The OHS Act applies to the sex work industry in the same way as any other industry. All employers and employees have OHS rights, duties and protections. Other people also have duties. For example, self-employed people and people with management or control of a workplace.

WorkSafe's role

WorkSafe is Victoria's OHS regulator. It is also the workplace injury insurer, including for the sex industry.

Health and safety inspectors are the public face of WorkSafe. WorkSafe inspectors have a leading role in the organisation. Their primary role is to ensure employers and other duty holders comply with health and safety legislation.

Inspections are just one tool that WorkSafe uses to improve workplace safety. Other tools and actions include:

  • campaigns
  • education programs
  • targeted interventions
  • warnings
  • compliance measures, including improvement and prohibition notices and directions
  • prosecutions

Guidance is another tool to help improve workplace health and safety. WorkSafe guidance for the sex industry includes the following:


Different authorities help ensure the sex work industry complies with OHS laws, public health laws and other laws. Those authorities include:

Support organisations

Different organisations provide resources and services to the sex industry. They include:

Guidance on the following pages may help you fulfil your duties under the OHS Act. The guidance may also help you identify and control hazards and risks in the sex industry.

WorkSafe Advisory Service

WorkSafe's advisory service is available between 7:30am and 6:30pm Monday to Friday. If you need more support, you can also contact WorkSafe using the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) or the National Relay Service.

1800 136 089 More contact options