Mandatory investigations

Section 131 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) allows a person to make a request for WorkSafe to investigate a matter.

Date last updated

Monday 28 Oct 2019

On this page

  • What is a mandatory investigation
  • Who can make a request for a mandatory investigation
  • Required criteria for WorkSafe to undertake a mandatory investigation
  • Requesting a mandatory investigation
  • What happens when I request a mandatory investigation
  • Further information

What is a mandatory investigation

Under section 131 of the OHS Act, if a person considers that an act, matter, or thing constitutes an offence against the OHS Act and there is no current comprehensive investigation or a prosecution has not been started by WorkSafe within 6 months, a person may request that WorkSafe investigate.

Who can make a request for a mandatory investigation

Any person can request a mandatory investigation. This includes a:

  • natural person
  • body corporate or association
  • unincorporated body
  • partnership

Required criteria for WorkSafe to undertake a mandatory investigation

For WorkSafe to consider a request for a mandatory investigation:

  • the request needs to be in writing
  • the person requesting the mandatory investigation considers there to be a contravention of the OHS Act
  • there is no current investigation on the matter
  • a prosecution has not been brought within 6 months of the contravention

Requesting a mandatory investigation

  1. Complete the form

    If you would like to request a mandatory investigation, please download and fill out the form

  2. Submit the form

    Completed forms can be emailed to [email protected]

    You can also mail in completed forms to:

    State Manager Investigations
    Enforcement Group
    Victorian WorkCover Authority
    1 Malop Street
    Geelong, Victoria 3220

  3. If you require assistance to complete the form

    Please telephone the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089. The submission of this form will ensure that WorkSafe has the information it needs to consider your request.

What happens when I request a mandatory investigation

On receiving a request for a mandatory investigation, WorkSafe will acknowledge receipt in writing and assess the request to see if it meets the requirements of section 131 of the OHS Act.

If WorkSafe considers that the request does not meet the requirements of section 131 of the OHS Act, for example, the matter does not fall within the WorkSafe's jurisdiction, WorkSafe will advise you in writing as to the reasons why.

If WorkSafe accepts the request, WorkSafe will begin to investigate the matter. An investigator will contact you to obtain further information and you may be asked to provide a signed statement about your request.

The time taken to complete the investigation will depend on whether the offence being investigated is a summary offence or an indictable offence. For more information see the link to 'types of offences' below.

If your request relates to a summary offence, at the end of 3 months WorkSafe will advise you in writing if a prosecution has been or will be brought.

If your request relates to an indictable offence:

  • WorkSafe may not be able to complete its investigation within 3 months and will report to you in writing every 3 months to advise you that the investigation is ongoing.
  • If the investigation is ongoing 9 months after receiving the request, then you may make a written request to WorkSafe asking to have the request referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
  • WorkSafe will advise you in writing if a prosecution has been or will be brought when the investigation is complete.

At the end of the investigation, if a prosecution is not brought, WorkSafe will provide you with reasons why, unless the providing you with reasons will prejudice a current investigation of an indictable offence. You can also request that WorkSafe refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions. This request must be made in writing.

The Director of Public Prosecutions must consider the request and advise WorkSafe whether a prosecution should be brought. WorkSafe must also report to its Minister on the progress of any mandatory investigation.