Work safety notices

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Where inspectors become aware of non-compliance with provisions of the OSH Act  and/or regulations, they may issue verbal directions, improvement or prohibition notices, or issue a combination of these.

An inspector will also consider any requests for review of provisional improvement notices (PINs) issued by an elected and trained safety and health representative. They will do this by attending the workplace.

Display of notices

Any improvement notice or prohibition noticed issued must be displayed in a prominent place at or near any workplace affected by the notice. These notices must not be removed until the requirements have been satisfied.

What is a verbal direction?

A verbal direction is an instruction given to a duty holder by a WorkSafe inspector about the need to correct a safety and health issue. The required changes must be made while the inspector is at the workplace and will be inspected prior to the inspector leaving the workplace. 

Any verbal direction issued by an inspector will be conveyed to the employer, person in control of the business or undertaking, safety and health representatives, safety and health committee or any other relevant party while the inspector is at the workplace.

What is an improvement notice?

An improvement notice is a written direction issued by a WorkSafe inspector requiring a person to fix something which is believed to not be in compliance with the OSH Act or regulations.

An improvement notice states the reasons for the inspector issuing the notice and will include a reference to a specific regulation or provision of the OSH Act that applies.

Can improvement notices be reviewed?

Requests for review of improvement notices can be lodged with the WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner. This must be done on a Form 4 Review of improvement notice, before the date on the notice by which action must be taken to fix the alleged breach.

You can send the form by fax, email or mail or hand deliver. 

Improvement notices are suspended while being reviewed by the Commissioner. 

After considering a request for a review, the Commissioner will affirm, modify or cancel the notice. If you do not agree with the Commissioner’s decision, you can seek a further review of the notice by the Occupational Safety and Health Tribunal. An appeal to the tribunal must be lodged with the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC) within seven days of the Commissioner’s decision.

How do I seek an extension of the deadline?

Extensions to the compliance deadline stated on an improvement notice can only be issued by the WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner as part of the review of a notice. You will need to submit a Form 4.

What is a prohibition notice?

A prohibition notice will be issued where the inspector is of the opinion that there is a risk of imminent and serious injury or harm to the health of a person. This is a written direction that prohibits the relevant activity from continuing. A prohibition notice states the reason the inspector issued the notice and may include a reference to a specific regulation or provision of the OSH Act.

When a prohibition notice is issued, the inspector will stay at the workplace until the employer is advised of the notice and the prohibited activity has ceased. Failure to comply with a prohibition notice could lead to prosecution.

Can prohibition notices be reviewed?

Requests for review of a prohibition notice must be lodged with the WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner within seven days of the issue of the notice. In some cases, the Commissioner may allow further time.

Prohibition notices remain in force while they are being reviewed by the Commissioner.

After considering a request for a review of a prohibition notice, the Commissioner will affirm, modify or cancel the notice. If you do not agree with the Commissioner’s decision, you can seek a further review of the notice from the Occupational Safety and Health Tribunal. Any appeal to the tribunal must be lodged with the WAIRC within seven days of the Commissioner’s decision.

Do I notify WorkSafe when I have complied with an improvement notice or prohibition notice?

A person who receives an improvement notice must notify the WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner without delay, once the requirements of the notice have been satisfied. This can be done by signing and returning the detachable portion of the notice to WorkSafe.

Activities that cease as a result of a prohibition notice may recommence as soon as the safety matter referred to on the notice is fixed.

What is a provisional improvement notice?

A provisional improvement notice (PIN) is similar to an improvement notice issued by an inspector, except that it is issued by an elected safety and health representative. PINs are written directions requiring a person to remedy (fix) an alleged breach of the OSH Act or regulations. A minimum of seven days must be given to fix the problem set out in the notice. If the safety issue involves serious and imminent danger to workers, other action should be taken such as following the resolution of issues procedures at the workplace, as issuing of a PIN may not immediately resolve the issue.

Failure to comply with a PIN before the date given for compliance is an offence.

If issuing a PIN fails to resolve the matter, contact WorkSafe on (08) 9327 8777.

Review request

Before the PIN expires, a request may be lodged with WorkSafe for a review. An inspector will then visit the workplace to carry this out. Until the inspector confirms, modifies or cancels the PIN, it is suspended.

If the inspector confirms or modifies the PIN, it becomes the same as an improvement notice issued by the inspector. If a PIN is not technically correct, the inspector may cancel it and look at issuing an improvement notice in its place.

How do WorkSafe inspectors decide when to issue a notice?

When dealing with possible breaches of the law, WorkSafe inspectors refer to the  Enforcement Policy, which is part of WorkSafe’s Compliance Policy. 

Further information

 

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