Safety in workplace car parks

Information about eliminating or reducing risks to health and safety in workplace car parks.


What is a workplace car park

A workplace car park is usually attached to a workplace, for example shopping centres, hospitals, airports and some offices. The car park may also be physically separate from the workplace itself, but is provided for employee use. Workplace car parks are often also available for public use.

Who has duties

The person who manages or controls a workplace (which can include a workplace car park) has a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the workplace and the means of entering and exiting it are safe and without risks to health.

Management or control of a workplace depends on factors like ownership and who can make changes to the workplace. For example, in a shopping centre:

  • If centre management owns and operates the car park, they have full management and control and they are the duty holder.
  • If a private operator owns and operates the car park, they have full management and control and they are the duty holder.
  • If centre management owns the car park and leases it to a private operator, the question of who has management or control depends on the terms of the lease agreement. For example, the private operator (the tenant) may not have management or control over structural elements of the car park, so for anything requiring structural work (such as repairing a pothole) centre management (the landlord) is the duty holder.

Employers also have obligations under the OHS Act that may be relevant to the operation or access of a workplace car park. For example, employers must:

  • provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health
  • ensure that persons other than their employees are not exposed to risks to their health and safety as a result of the conduct of the employer's undertaking
  • notify WorkSafe immediately after becoming aware that an incident has occurred at a workplace under the management and control of the employer
  • consult with employees and health and safety representatives (if any) on matters related to health or safety that affect them. For example, when identifying hazards, assessing risks and implementing controls
  • ensure safe systems of work are in place for employees working in the car park (such as car park attendants) and provide adequate facilities for their welfare (eg access to toilets, drinking water)

Other OHS Act duties that may apply to a workplace carpark include:

  • the duties of designers of buildings or structures that are to be used as a workplace to ensure they are designed to be safe and without risks to the health of people using that workplace
  • the duties of persons who design, manufacture or supply plant or machinery to ensure that it is designed to be safe and without risks to health
  • the duties of persons who install, erect or commission plant or machinery that is to be used at a workplace to ensure that nothing about the way in which the plant is installed, erected or commissioned makes its use unsafe or a risk to health

The same legal duties apply regardless of whether the car park provides free or paid parking.

Controlling risks in workplace car parks

Related Australian Standards

  • Australian Standard AS1158.3.1: Road Lighting – Pedestrian Areas
  • Australian Standard AS1680.2.1: Interior and workplace lighting

Further information