Enforcing the laws

Enforcement action

When taking enforcement action, our inspectors will explain to the PCBU:

  • the reason for taking such action on any notices issued
  • any evidence they have based their decision on
  • what you should do to comply with any actions
  • where you can get guidance on complying
  • the date you need to comply by for any notices issued.

Enforcement options

The National Compliance and Enforcement Policy (external link) sets out the nationally agreed principles for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2012.

If you fail to meet or breach your duty under this Act, inspectors may use a range of compliance and enforcement measures:

  • advice and information
  • notices: improvement, prohibition and non-disturbance
  • on-the-spot fines
  • seizing things
  • prosecutions
  • enforceable undertakings.

Advice and information

Inspectors may provide advice and information on what could or should be done to control risks from hazards.

Inspectors may express an opinion or make recommendations about what is required to achieve voluntarily compliance with the legislation. This advice can be written or verbal.

You may choose to take action based on these recommendations or opinions expressed.

Notices: in general

If an inspector forms a reasonable belief that sections of the Act have been contravened, are being contravened, or could be contravened, they can issue a written notice.

You must display this notice:

  • as soon as possible
  • in a prominent position at the affected workplace area (for example, on a noticeboard)
  • while in force - it must not intentionally be removed, destroyed, damaged or defaced.

An injunction may be sought from the Magistrates Court to compel compliance with an inspector’s notice or restrain a person from contravening the notice.

Non-disturbance notice

A non-disturbance notice requires an immediate action.

It is issued to:

  • preserve the site where a notifiable incident has occurred
  • prevent the disturbance of a particular site or plant, substance, structure or thing associated with the workplace.

The non-disturbance notice will state:

  • the period the non-disturbance notice will apply for (7 days or less)
  • the measures to be taken to preserve a site or prevent the disturbance of a site
  • the actions that can be taken even though a non-disturbance notice has been issued
  • the penalty for contravening the notice.

A non-disturbance notice does not prevent any actions:

  • to help injured people or remove a deceased person at the direction of the coroner
  • to make the site safe or prevent a further incident
  • to assist with a police investigation
  • that an inspector has given permission for.

On-the-spot fine

An infringement notice imposes a financial penalty for an offence against the legislation which is readily identifiable. In most cases, it will be issued together with other notices.

Both PCBUs and workers can be issued with an on-the-spot fine.

Examples of offences which can be issued with an on-the-spot fine include failing to:

  • comply with an improvement notice
  • report a notifiable incident (such as a work-caused serious injury or illness)
  • allow health and safety representatives (HSRs) to exercise their powers or functions
  • use/wear PPE provided by the PCBU according to the information, training or reasonable instruction being given
  • test electrical work
  • ensure electrical equipment was de-energized before carrying out electrical work.

Another example includes allowing people to carry out high risk work without seeing written evidence that t Updated: 24th February 2020