What to expect in a WorkSafe inspection
WorkSafe inspectors work with employers and others in workplaces to keep Victorian workers safe. They might come into your workplace because you work in a high-risk industry, someone has reported unsafe working conditions, or after an incident.
What happens during an inspection?
When a WorkSafe inspector enters your workplace, they will tell the person in charge, and any health and safety representatives, why they are there.
The main thing they want is for your workplace to be a safe and healthy place to work. To help you make improvements, they might:
- give you practical and constructive advice about how to fix any health or safety contraventions they come across
- advise on how to comply with Victoria's occupational health and safety laws
- give you or a specific employee written instructions about what needs to be fixed, and by when (an Improvement Notice)
- give you a written notice telling you to stop an activity that they think poses an serious risk to health or safety because of an immediate or imminent exposure to a hazard (a Prohibition Notice). The notice will tell you what needs to be fixed before you can start doing the activity again
WorkSafe inspectors can also issue an infringement notice or official warning for certain offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (infringement offences). An infringement notice is a fine given by a WorkSafe inspector to a person who is alleged to have committed an infringement offence. The notice requires the person to pay a fixed penalty.
The inspector will give you a report at the end of their visit, explaining everything they've done and noting any photographs, documents, or other items they’ve taken.
If an inspector finds health and safety contraventions at a workplace, WorkSafe may investigate, and prosecute.
What are inspectors allowed to do?
WorkSafe inspectors are allowed to enter your workplace during working hours, or at any time when they believe there is an immediate risk to the health or safety of a person. They must carry official WorkSafe identification and produce it for inspection.
Inspectors have the right to:
- ask you, your employees or other people questions
- take photographs, recordings and measurements
- take items away with them for examination, testing or for use as evidence
- take samples of substances or objects
- ask to see your documents, make copies or take the documents
- call in other people to assist them, including technical or scientific experts, interpreters or police officers
They can also:
- make enquiries in regards to a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) issued by a health and safety representative (HSR) and affirm, modify or cancel it
- review an employer's or HSR's decision to cease work because of safety concerns
- if an incident has occurred, give you a non-disturbance notice to keep the scene of the incident as it is
What if I disagree with an inspector's decision?
If you disagree with a notice that has been issued to you by an inspector, or have received an infringement notice you may be able to apply for a review by WorkSafe's Internal Review Unit. The Magistrates' Court may also hear and determine matters relating to infringement notices.
More about inspections
How inspectors deal with specific issues: A guide for workplaces
Infringement notices scheme
Request review of infringement
Request a review of an OHS inspector decision
Internal review of an OHS inspector's decision application form
How inspectors support and enforce health and safety at work
An overview of the right of entry by authorised representatives