WorkSafe Victoria complaints management policy

WorkSafe Victoria's policy and approach to handling complaints.


The complaints process

Complaints Management Policy

At WorkSafe, we are committed to listening and responding to client and stakeholder complaint feedback. When things go wrong, we're here to help.

We aim to keep all workplaces healthy and safe, and deliver a high level service and support when needed most. If you feel that we haven't met your expectations, we need to know so we can continue to improve.

Your feedback matters to us. If you have concerns about the service you have received from a WorkSafe employee or someone acting on our behalf, such as your WorkSafe Agent, Independent Examiner, Occupational Rehabilitation Provider or a High Risk Work Licence Assessor, it's important that we understand where things have gone wrong.

Mission and values

WorkSafe's mission is to actively work with the community to deliver outstanding workplace safety and return to work outcomes, together with insurance protection. The work we do is important because it impacts the lives of many people.

We have a responsibility to ensure that strong values guide us in everything we do.

We are:

  • connected by being caring, inclusive and collaborative
  • persistent by being purposeful, flexible and resilient
  • dynamic by being passionate, innovative and courageous

Guiding principles

Managing your complaint efficiently is important to us. We understand that your feedback is what will make us better.

We will always:

  • R - Resolve – we understand the importance of getting an outcome for your concerns. We will make all reasonable attempts to resolve you complaint
  • A – Always strive for consistency – we aim for a first contact resolution but won’t rush the process. We will take the time to ensure your complaint is thoroughly reviewed
  • D - Dialogue – we will focus on communications not correspondence and provide you with updates to ensure you understand what’s happening
  • A - Apologise – we will offer an apology when we have not met your service expectations. We are sincere and committed in our service to you
  • R – Respect – we respect you and understand that you need an outcome for your concerns. We will handle your complaint in line with our values and ensure you are treated fairly and courteously

Our policy commitment

We know when you aren't given the service you deserve, we must take the time to listen and learn from your experience.

We will:

  • manage your complaint quickly and treat all people involved fairly and courteously
  • handle your complaint in line with our values
  • grow and learn from all complaints to make sure that we improve our service to all our clients
  • continue to evolve in our commitment to all Victorians by improving our complaints process

Who is WorkSafe?

WorkSafe promotes and enforces health and safety in Victorian workplaces. We pride ourselves on our people. Our people aren't just WorkSafe employees, they are also those who carry out services on our behalf such as:

  • WorkSafe Agents, WorkCover Assist, self-insurers, independent medical examiners, occupational rehabilitation providers, members of WorkSafe's legal panel, cost consultants and private investigators
  • providers registered or approved by WorkSafe to provide services to injured workers
  • a party acting under contract on behalf of WorkSafe or one of its Agents
  • WorkSafe authorised high risk work licence assessors
  • WorkSafe authorised registered training organisations who deliver the provision of certain qualifications

What is a complaint?

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction to WorkSafe about the conduct of, or service provided by, WorkSafe and its employees and representatives, including:

  • an action taken, decision made or service provided

  • an unreasonable delay or failure in providing a service, taking an action, or making a decision

but does not include requests for:

  • internal review of legislated reviewable decisions*

  • applications for independent review of unresolved workers compensation decisions following conciliation outcomes

  • review of an employer's premium, including review of penalties, industry classification and worker classification disputes

  • action by WorkSafe as regulator

  • initiation and conduct of common law proceedings necessarily commenced under the Victorian workers compensation legislation^ or initiated to challenge a decision made by WorkSafe in its capacity as regulator

* Under Victorian workers compensation, occupational health and safety, dangerous goods and equipment (public safety) legislation, an eligible person can ask WorkSafe to review a range of decisions made by WorkSafe or by certain individuals acting on WorkSafe's behalf. These are referred to as 'reviewable decisions'.

^ Refer to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

How to make a complaint

To help us understand what has happened, we need some important details from you including:

  • a description of where we have not met your expectations
  • any documentation you think is important to your complaint
  • any explanations you think are important
  • how we can get in touch with you (including if you need a translator when we communicate with you)

There are different ways you can reach us to discuss what has happened.

We understand that you may need help when submitting your complaint. Our Centralised Complaints Service is here to support you through the process. You can visit WorkSafe reception at 1 Malop Street, Geelong Vic 3220.

If you require a translator, please telephone our Advisory services team on the number listed above. Our team will be happy to arrange a translator for you.

Who can make a complaint?

We want to hear from anyone who thinks that we haven't met their expectations.

You may be:

  • an injured worker, a family member or a representative
  • an employee association, for example, a union official
  • an employer, worker, employer association or a Health and Safety Representative
  • a healthcare professional treating injured workers
  • a member of Parliament, the Victorian Ombudsman, and the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service (ACCS)
  • a member of the public

We understand that sometimes people prefer to remain anonymous when submitting a complaint. We will always accept these complaints, however, we can only investigate those that have enough detail to allow us to do so.

If you wish to make a complaint about a WorkSafe employee, officer, contractor or agent, this complaint is not protected unless it is made as a public interest disclosure.

What is a public interest disclosure?

Public interest disclosures are reports about:

  • improper conduct of public bodies or public officers (such as corrupt conduct or conduct undertaken in their capacity as a public officer or public body including criminal offences, serious professional misconduct, dishonest performance of public functions, intentional or reckless breach of public trust, intentional or reckless misuse of information, mismanagement of public resources, risks to health or safety of one or more persons and risks to the environment)
  • detrimental action that a public officer or public body has taken against a person in reprisal for them (or another person) having made a public interest disclosure or cooperated with the investigation of a public interest disclosure

How to make a public interest disclosure

Disclosures made to WorkSafe about improper conduct or detrimental actions are not protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act. If anyone (whether an employee or a member of the public) wishes to make a public interest disclosure about WorkSafe or an employee or officer of WorkSafe, and wish for that disclosure to be protected, they should make the disclosure to Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC). IBAC's contact details are:


Level 1, North Tower
459 Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Postal address:

GPO Box 24234
Melbourne, VIC 3001

Phone: 1300 735 135

Fax: 03 8635 6444

Email: [email protected]

How we will manage your complaint

Complaints are not always easy to resolve. We will always do everything we can to work through your concerns to find a suitable outcome. We have five steps to manage your complaint:

  1. Complaint submitted – Our Centralised Complaints Service will let you know when it has received your complaint. The Service will assess your concerns, regularly communicate with you to ensure you understand what's happening and strive to resolve your complaint as soon as possible.**
  2. Escalation (if required): If unable to resolve your complaint, our Centralised Complaints Service will refer your complaint to a specialist in WorkSafe for resolution.
  3. Resolve: We will assess all aspects of your complaint to ensure your concerns have been addressed, you have been consulted, and you will receive a resolution outcome to your complaint concerns.
  4. Senior review: If you are dissatisfied with the process or the outcome provided, you can request a senior review.
  5. Referral to external complaint management bodies: If you are dissatisfied with the process or outcome, we will advise you of any external referral options available to you.^^

** If a person making the complaint is aggrieved with a WorkSafe employee or contractor, these complaints are managed by our Internal Investigations Unit in accordance with WorkSafe's internal complaints resolution policies.

^^ A person can make complaint to external bodies any time and do not have to make a complaint to WorkSafe first.

The escalation process

If our Centralised Complaints Service is unable able to resolve your complaint, it can be escalated to a responsible manager who will complete an independent assessment in accordance with the following principles:

  • your complaint will be assessed by an appropriately authorised person who will be your point of contact
  • the person assessing your complaint will be independent of the complaint
  • the investigation of complaints must be fair and reasonable for all parties
  • you will be advised of the assessment and resolution timeframes for your complaint

Senior review process

When you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you may request a senior review. A senior review is independent of the initial assessment of your complaint and is undertaken by a manager within WorkSafe.

After this review, if your complaint remains unresolved, you will be advised of your options to refer the matter to an external complaint management organisation.

You will also be provided with contact details for the external organisations that may be able to help on the basis of the subject matter of the complaint.

Complaints about our representatives

We expect all employees and those who represent us, including contractors, to do so in line with our values.

If you're dissatisfied with a contractor, we want to know. In the first instance, you might decide to make a complaint directly to your contractor and ask them to resolve the problem. If you are dissatisfied with their response, you can contact us by clicking on the 'Make a complaint' card below.

Resolving your complaint

When assessing and determining a resolution, we will consider if:

  • all aspects of your complaint have been appropriately addressed
  • you have been consulted appropriately
  • we have resolved your complaint under the relevant policies and guidelines

There are many different ways to resolve a complaint.

Here are some ways WorkSafe may resolve your complaint:

  • an apology
  • information, advice, explanation or clarification Information, advice, explanation or clarification
  • an explanation about how the error occurred and the steps taken to prevent it happening again
  • referral to another party or body
  • amendments to relevant reports where an error of fact has been made
  • changes to decisions where appropriate under the relevant legislation
  • providing access to services/benefits which the person who made the complaint has an entitlement to under the relevant legislation

To ensure you remain updated with the progress of your complaint, WorkSafe expects that:

  • 85% of complaints received will be resolved within 21 business days
  • when your complaint cannot be resolved, or otherwise appropriately closed within 21 business days, we will provide you with updates. We will also advise you of the outcome of our investigation and agree on a proposed remedy, if any. If you are dissatisfied with our response we will also, when available, provide referral options to external complaint management organisations

Recording complaints

As part of our complaints process, we will record the details of your complaint and the outcome. We record and classify complaints using a complaints system.

We also record the following information to see if there are any patterns in complaints to continually improve our services, including:

  • who has made the complaint including name and contact details
  • what the complaint is about and how it could be categorised
  • specific details about the complaint, such as the claim number and precise matter of concern
  • the final resolution outcome of the complaint

Complaints are closed in our system when you are advised of your complaint outcome.

Reporting on performance

Finding ways to continually improve our services is important to us. We have a number of key performance indicators which we measure and report on regularly. These include:

  • complaints trends, systemic issues – we are transparent and identify/report on trends or consistencies in complaints
  • efficient management of complaints – we are timely in resolving complaints
  • complaint outcomes – we report on complaint outcomes to ensure they are fair and just
  • customer satisfaction with how our complaints are handled – we connect with those who have lived our process to gain valuable feedback on how we can improve
  • understanding trends - we collate data to understand how many complaints have escalated to the Victorian Ombudsman’s office and where our original decision was overturned
  • process improvement - our managers regularly review complaints data and consider any recommendations to improve the way we deliver our service in managing complaints

Managing unreasonable behaviour

We understand you may be upset and sometimes angry when lodging a complaint. We are here to help you understand where things have gone wrong. We ask for your respect and cooperation as we learn about what has happened so we can help find a resolution. We have an internal policy to identify and manage unreasonable behaviours.

Behaviours we consider unreasonable include:

  • unreasonable persistence – this includes complainants persisting with their issues even though they have been dealt with to finality, refusing to accept final decisions and sending excessive amounts of correspondence
  • unreasonable demands - this includes insisting on outcomes that are unattainable, moving the goal posts or demanding to have complaints dealt with in a particular way
  • unreasonable lack of cooperation - this includes providing disorganised, excessive or irrelevant information, being unwilling to consider valid viewpoints or refusing to define their issues of complaint when capable
  • unreasonable arguments – this includes complainants making cause and effect arguments where there are clearly none, holding conspiracy theories unsupported by evidence and irrationally interpreting facts or laws and refusing to accept other more reasonable interpretations
  • unreasonable behaviour – this includes extreme anger, aggression, threats or other threatening or violent conduct

Where unreasonable behaviour is identified by WorkSafe staff, we will use management strategies which:

  • ensure all people making a complaint are treated consistently with respect, equity and fairness
  • require staff working with the person making a complaint to display professionalism and adhere to WorkSafe's complaint management principles at all times
  • ensures accessible service to all
  • WorkSafe reserves the right to restrict or modify access to our services in accordance with our internal managing unreasonable behaviours policy to protect staff health and safety

Privacy at WorkSafe

We will only ever ask you what we need to know to help us understand what has happened. Your privacy is important to us and the information will be handled as per our privacy policy.

When we collect personal and health information about individuals, we take reasonable steps to provide you with (or otherwise ensure that they are made aware of) information about:

  • WorkSafe's contact details
  • the purposes for which the personal and health information is collected
  • the types of persons and organisations to which such information would usually be disclosed
  • any law that requires, authorises or permits its collection
  • any consequences if the information is not provided
  • the person's rights of access to that information

Your privacy is important

This information is set out in a collection statement, which is included on relevant forms, including registration forms and any other document or mechanism used to collect personal or health information.

WorkSafe will provide personal details to another party with the consent of the complainant, or if otherwise permitted under privacy laws, or under other legislation which may require the disclosure of such information without personal consent.

Read our privacy policy

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