What to expect if your workplace is inspected by WorkSafe

WorkSafe inspectors work with employers and others in workplaces to keep Victorian workers safe.

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 health and safety laws
  • give you or a specific employee written instructions about what they need to fix, and by when (an Improvement Notice)
  • give you a written notice telling you to stop an activity that they think poses an immediate risk to health or safety (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.

Serious contravention

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 when 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:

  • review a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) issued by a health and safety representative and affirm, modify or cancel it
  • review a worker'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, you can apply for a review.

If you have received an infringement notice, you can apply to have the decision to issue the infringement notice reviewed by WorkSafe's Internal Review Unit. You can also elect to have the matter heard and determined in the Magistrates' Court.