Migrant workers

Work health and safety (WHS) legislation protect all workers in Western Australia, even if you are on a temporary visa. You have a right to a safe, healthy and fair workplace.

In Western Australia, the WHS legislation require that a high standard of safety must be provided at your workplace, and that you are not injured or harmed because of your work. Making workplaces safer relies upon your boss (sometimes called the person conducting a business or undertaking [PCBU]) and you working together.

PCBUs have a responsibility to provide, as far as practicable, a safe workplace. This is called a ‘duty of care’. You, as a worker, also have a duty of care to work safely and not affect the health and safety of others.

The law in Western Australia also requires the PCBU to consider individual needs of workers in providing a healthy and safe workplace. For example, they need to consider how to convey information about health and safety to those with a limited knowledge of English, or those with other specific needs.

To find out more about PCBUs responsibilities read the information sheet. This information sheet is also available in Arabic, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Filipino, German, Hindi, Indonesia, Italian, Punjabi and Vietnamese.

Participating in health and safety matters in the workplace

As a worker, there are different ways you can participate in ensuring health and safety at your workplace. You can do this by:

  • talking directly with your boss, supervisor and co-workers about any concerns you may have
  • notifying the supervisor or  of any hazards or injuries, or potential hazards or injuries
  • participating in training on any procedures with which you are unfamiliar
  • asking questions about any matters you do not understand
  • where required, requesting information and training be provided in an appropriate format to suit your needs, for example through the use of an interpreter or translator
  • where there are health and safety representatives or a health and safety committee, raising issues with them.

WorkSafe is the government agency with powers to enforce workplace health and safety legislation and investigate concerns about unsafe workplaces.

If you have a concern or require information you can call our information centre at 1300 307 877. You can ask that your enquiry remains confidential and that your details are not given to anyone.

Supporting culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) workers

A culturally and linguistically diverse group, or CALD, is a community (or communities) with diverse ethnic backgrounds, language, traditions, religions, nationalities, and societal structures. CALD workers may need extra support in the workplace with communication, training, and supervision.

Western Australia has the highest proportion of the population born overseas at 35% (ABS, 2016). Therefore, it’s important for PCBUs to recognise the needs of CALD workers and implement suitable communication channels with workers to meet their WHS obligations.

Communicating WHS information in an easily accessible format is key to preventing and reducing workplace breaches, incidents, illnesses, and injuries. It is important that PCBUs identify all language or cultural barriers that may prevent a worker from carrying out their work safely and provide appropriate support and solutions to keep them healthy and safe.


PCBUs must tailor the way they communicate with CALD workers. As written information can often be complex, consider providing translated materials. Some different approaches that may be useful, noting that a combination of approaches is best:

  • face-to-face communication can be a good way to check for understanding as it allows for immediate identification and correction of confusion. Remember to use language that is common, clear and to the point. Do not speak louder or use jargon and slang
  • practical demonstrations show a worker how to do something. To check for understanding, you could ask the worker to demonstrate the task to make sure they have understood your instructions
  • visual aids such as safety signs that use pictograms are a good way to connect across a language barrier. You can check for understanding by asking the worker questions, for example ‘where is the exit?’ or by asking them to explain a topic or task in their own words.

Free translating and interpreting services are available from TIS National. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with more than 100 languages available.

  • for PCBUs - contact TIS National directly to organise an interpreter
  • for non-English speaking workers - contact TIS National directly on 13 14 50.

Further information

Translated information sheets to meet PCBU’s WHS obligation.

The following guidance material was prepared under the previous occupational safety and health legislation, however the content is still valid.

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