There are thousands of workplaces in Victoria, and only about 300 inspectors, so while WorkSafe has blitzes and inspectors have the right to visit workplaces, even unannounced, it may be that many workplaces will rarely, if ever, get a visit. An elected rep has the right to require an inspector to attend the workplace. Howver, our advice is that the first place to go is your union – even before you organise for an inspector to come to your workplace. Your union will give you information and assistance in OHS related matters.
Specifically with regard this matter, there are certain circumstances under the OHS Act (2004) when an inspector is required to attend a workplace. These are:
- Section 63: If called by an employer within 7 days of receiving a PIN if the employer does not wish to comply with the PIN;
- Section 75:
- By either party in an OHS issue which has not been resolved within a reasonable time under Section 73 (Resolution of health and safety issues); or
- When a rep orders a ceasework under Section 75 and there are issues around the ceasework;
- Section 45: To determine unresolved particulars in negotiations for designated work groups
However, inspectors are not required under the Act to attend a workplace to provide information and advice.
Remember, though, that an elected rep has the right, whenever necessary, to 'seek the assistance of any person' s58(1)(e). While this can be an inspector, it can also be a union OHS officer or organiser, a consultant or even another rep.
The first port of call in seeking assistance should be your union.
- Part 2.2 of the consolidated regulations: Issue Resolution Procedures.
- WorkSafe Victoria Inspectors - How Inspectors support and enforce health and safety at work. Revised April 2012
- Overview of how inspectors deal with specific issues - This document provides information about how WorkSafe OHS inspectors deal with specific issues when performing their functions, including investigating a disputed or non-complied with PIN.
Last amended July 2014