Right to enter

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Employee / workerEmployer

An inspector has the legal right to enter, at any time, any workplace including aircraft, ships and vehicles, where employees work or are likely to be in the course of their work. This right to enter means that inspectors have unrestricted access to workplaces, excepting where there is a statutory restriction.

Reasons for entering a workplace

The reasons an inspector may visit a workplace include:

  • industry compliance campaign where specific industries or hazards are identified, usually through industry based statistics. Some of these investigations are based upon workers’ compensation claims information, while others involve a formal program of visits and follow-ups;
  • accident or incident investigations undertaken to determine what happened and why, and how to prevent a recurrence or a similar incident in workplaces. If there has been a serious accident or death, a report is prepared;
  • investigation of reported breaches of the Act and regulations based upon complaints to WorkSafe;
  • review of a provisional improvement notice;
  • resolution of issues where an employer, safety and health representative or employee (where there is no safety and health representative) has notified an inspector, after unsuccessfully attempting to resolve a safety and health issue according to the OSH Act, and where there is risk of imminent and serious injury or harm to the health of any person (section 25 of the Act);
  • proactive inspections where investigations initiated or generated by the inspectorate while conducting field activities;
  • notice follow-ups to confirm compliance with the directions in an improvement or prohibition notice; and
  • regulatory inspections where the regulations require certain inspections eg for machinery and plant, scaffolding and some hazardous operations.

Further information


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