Right of entry
This is a summary of the requirements for entry to a workplace by an entry permit holder (EPH) where they suspect a contravention of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 or the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012.
Full details of WHS entry permit requirements and entry by an EPH can be found in the Guidance Note Workplace right of entry by Work Health and Safety Entry Permit Holders (pdf, 195.2 KB) GN053.
Where an EPH suspects there is a contravention of the legislation, they may enter without prior notice (other forms of entry require between 24 hours and 14 days written notice). However, as soon as is reasonably practicable after entering the workplace, the EPH must provide written notice of entry to the relevant person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) and person with management or control of the workplace.
The only exceptions to this requirement are where this would:
- defeat the purpose of entry to the workplace (for example, the activity concerned will cease if the EPH stops to give notice after entry)
- unreasonably delay the EPH in an urgent case (for example, may relate to working at height without fall protection or demolishing asbestos containing material without breathing apparatus).
How much information is required on the contravention?
An EPH must provide sufficient information about the suspected contravention in order to enable the PCBU or an inspector to be able to determine the scope of the inquiry, including general locations (for example, suspected contravention in the provision of safe plant within production areas of the workplace).
An EPH is not required to provide such specific detail that individual workers may be identified (for example, lack of machine guarding on production line one stamping machines).
Is the EPH able to access other areas of the workplace not relevant to the suspected contravention?
No. Entry is confined to only those areas of the workplace relevant to the suspected contravention.
After an EPH inquires into a suspected contravention, what action may they take?
The EPH’s role is to inquire into a suspected contravention with the relevant workers and relevant PCBU, and provide suggestions on what could be done to resolve identified concerns. They do not have power to direct what needs to be done to remedy the contravention.
If the EPH and the PCBU cannot agree on what action needs to be taken, then WorkSafe Tasmania can be contacted to help with the matter in dispute.
Before gaining entry to the workplace, the EPH must produce their WHS entry permit with photographic identification and their Fair Work Right of Entry Permit.
If the EPH fails, refuses or is unable to produce this identification, then entry to the workplace is to be refused.
For the EPH to inquire into a suspected WHS contravention the EPH must also produce a notice of entry in accordance with section 117 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 as soon as is reasonably practicable under section 119.