SafeWork SA

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We are responsible for providing work health and safety, public safety and state-based industrial relations services across South Australia.

As a regulator, we manage the state’s work health and safety functions as well as administering state industrial relations laws.

We have work health and safety advisors to help educate you on your rights and responsibilities as well as health and safety inspectors who investigate workplace incidents.

SafeWork SA is a business unit within the Department of Treasury and Finance and is accountable to the Treasurer. You can find our 2016-17 annual reporting summary in the Attorney-General's Department Annual Report.

Workplace advisory service

We're committed to safe workplaces for all South Australians by providing information, support and advice to improve workplace safety for everyone.

Our advisory service delivers tailored face-to-face support and practical advice based on a workplace's industry, size, risk and complexity.

Our advisors can visit your workplace to help you understand your work health and safety responsibilities as well as provide practical support to improve your systems, practices and general approach to safety.

Our advisors have no inspector powers so you can be comfortable asking us for help.

Whether you are a worker, an employer or a Health and Safety Representative, our advisors are available to answer your questions.

See what other businesses had to say about our service.

Health and safety inspectors

As a regulator, we are responsible for ensuring work health and safety and public safety standards are met. Our inspectors provide support to help businesses and industries improve work health and safety practices. Inspectors are there to make sure that you stay safe and will notify you if a health and safety issue has been detected in your industry.

Unfortunately incidents do happen. If breaches of laws are detected, inspectors will take the appropriate action to ensure health and safety issues do not occur in future.

Visits by a health and safety inspector

We have a team of inspectors to ensure your workplace remains safe, especially after an incident. Whilst our inspectors can issue penalty notices their role is primarily to investigate and to provide answers and solutions if an incident occurs.

If a SafeWork SA inspector visits your premises you are required to:

  • cooperate with the investigator, and
  • answer any of their questions or provide any documents that they request, even if that information will incriminate another person or your company.

You are not required to provide information or documentation that:

  • may incriminate you or subject you to penalty
  • is subject to legal professional privilege

Whilst on your work premises, our inspectors may:

  • inspect, examine anything and make enquiries at the workplace;
  • take measurements, conduct tests and make sketches or recordings (including photographs, films, audio, video, digital or other recording);
  • require a person at the workplace to give the inspector reasonable help to exercise the inspector’s powers;
  • require the production of documents;
  • copy and retain documents;
  • ask questions and conduct interviews;
  • remove samples for analysis or seize anything as evidence;
  • request a person’s name and address; and
  • take affidavits.

It is a criminal offence to not comply with our inspectors during an investigation. Fines of up to $10,000 for an individual and $50,000 for an incorporated entity apply.

If you disagree with an inspector's decision you can, in many cases, seek an internal or external review of the decision.

Industrial Relations Consultative Council

The Industrial Relations Consultative Council has a consultative and advisory function within the industrial relations portfolio, providing high level advice to the Treasurer about work health and safety and industrial relations matters in South Australia.

The Council also has the ability to establish time-limited, outcome driven issues groups to consult on specific matters as they arise.

Council members

Employee representatives

  • Natasha Brown, Public Service Association of SA
  • David Gray, United Voice
  • Elizabeth Dabars, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA branch)
  • Jessica Rogers, Communications, Electrical, Electronics, Plumbing and Allied Services Union
  • Peter Lamps, Australian Workers’ Union (SA branch)
  • Monique Chettle, Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association SA & NT

Employer representatives

  • Trevor Evans, Australian Hotels Association (SA branch)
  • Michael Mead, Ai Group
  • Estha van der Linden, Business SA
  • Erma Ranieri, Commissioner for Public Sector Employment
  • Sarah Hills, South Australian Wine Industry Association
  • Phil Harrison, City of Playford


We report on work health and safety matters including:

  • notifiable workplace fatalities where the death of a worker is confirmed as work related
  • the number of Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices issued by our Inspectors to enforce work health and safety compliance
  • audits of major public events
  • finalised work health and safety investigations which includes all completed investigations further to a notifiable serious injury or dangerous incident or complaint
  • how many workplaces we visit and audit - we call these workplace interventions.

Workplace fatality statistics are preliminary, based on initial reports, until confirmation of work-related status is established following investigation. All confirmed workplace deaths are reported nationally to Safe Work Australia - Notifiable fatalities monthly report and Worker fatalities.

Key Statistics
Activity 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018
Reactive compliance and enforcement 10357 12525 8675
Complaints, notifications, education, engagement and support visits 4015 24338 2356
Proactive compliance and enforcement 5157 8815 6662
Improvement Notices Issued 1575 2342 1650
Prohibition Notices Issued 688 650 525
Expiation Notices Issued 0 1 0
Notifiable Fatalities under WHS legislation 19 20 8 (in 2018)

*Since 1 January 2012 road traffic incidents resulting in the death of a worker are included as notifiable.

Library collection

Our Customer Service Centre has a Library service that holds a collection of resources on all aspects of working life, including work health and safety, industrial relations, professional and personal development, management, workers compensation, rehabilitation and return-to-work.

Individuals and groups are welcome to visit our library.

Additional information

Work Health and Safety Act 2012 - Parts 8 & 9 and sections 171 and 172 detail your rights and those of SafeWork SA and our inspectors.

The National Compliance and Enforcement Policy and the Principles of Operation for the WHS Inspector provide guidance for regulators and inspectors.

The Global Code of Integrity for Labour Inspection, developed by SafeWork SA and the International Association of Labour Inspection, aims to promote professionalism through integrity, commitment, responsiveness and good governance.