How to make a complaint about a workplace hazard, accident or incident

This page is for: 
Employee / workerEmployer

Contact WorkSafe to complain about workplace safety. This page should be read in conjunction with About WorkSafe.

How do I report a workplace hazard, accident or injury?

WorkSafe encourages a consultative process where workplace safety complaints are first reported in the workplace and attempted to be resolved in house. An employee has a legal duty under section 20 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 to report any hazards they observe in their workplace to the employer. This might include involving elected safety and health representatives in order to bring the complaint to the attention of management.

Where consultation in the workplace has not resolved the problem it may be necessary to report the matter to WorkSafe and request an inspector’s intervention.

You can contact WorkSafe by calling 1300 307 877, by email or by writing to PO Box 294 WEST PERTH WA 6872

Who can complain?

Anyone is able to complain to WorkSafe about workplace safety; however information that is received from a first-hand source employed at the workplace would be treated with greater priority than second or third hand sources.

When lodging a report on behalf of someone else it is imperative that you have their permission to do so and you should encourage them to contact WorkSafe themselves.

By leaving your contact details you allow an investigating inspector to contact you back to clarify areas of your complaint. These contact details are kept confidential and will not be revealed to anyone outside of WorkSafe without the complainant’s consent.

What information do I need to provide

  • Who is involved?
    • Who are the people/companies that are involved in the unsafe acts at a workplace.
  • What unsafe practises are taking place?
    • Specific details of what you have observed and why you believe it to be unsafe at a workplace.
  • Where are the unsafe practises taking place?
    • An exact street address for where the unsafe practises at a workplace are taking place or enough information on the address to allow an inspector to find the site. 
  • When did the unsafe practises occur?
    • Information such as, whether the unsafe practises at a workplace are occurring right now and what days or times the unsafe working practises occur.
  • How did you become aware of the situation?
    • It is important to know if the information you have given is first-hand experience at a workplace or passed on to you through other sources. 
    • It is also necessary so if an inspector does investigate they know who they can contact for further clarification.
  • What consultation with management has occurred?
    • As stated in the introduction WorkSafe needs to know what level of consultation has taken place in the workplace. This includes whether the employer, supervisor and/or safety and health representatives have been consulted.

What happens next

The information that you have provided will be passed on to the WorkSafe inspectorate where it will be classified in line with the Criteria for Investigation publication. Not all complaints will result in an investigation by an inspector. If an inspector needs further information to clarify the concerns they may contact you to ask some questions and discuss your complaint.

If an investigation takes place and reveals non-compliance with the occupational safety and health legislation WorkSafe will take appropriate enforcement action, which may include improvement notices, prohibition notices, prosecution action, other sanctions or any combination of these. You can refer to WorkSafe’s compliance and prosecution policies for information on this.

What will I find out

When you provide contact details to WorkSafe they will remain confidential and you will be provided with a reference number. This number is your reference to confirm that we have lodged the concern and should be quoted if you contact WorkSafe again to add to the same complaint.

WorkSafe investigates to establish if the occupational safety and health legislation have been complied with and may take a range of enforcement action in relation to that non-compliance. WorkSafe Investigates for WorkSafe’s purposes and not on behalf of a complainant. A WorkSafe inspector will only contact you if they need to clarify any details of your concern and will not contact you with the results of their investigation.

If you contact WorkSafe with your reference number a message can be put through to the investigating inspector who may tell you if their investigation has finished yet.

Further information on the results of an investigation might be able to be obtained by lodging a freedom of information request and paying the appropriate fee.

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