As the state’s workplace health and safety (WHS) regulator, SafeWork SA is responsible for ensuring WHS and public safety standards are met. Our inspectors undertake workplace visits to provide advice and information to businesses and industries to assist in improving work health and safety practices. They also monitor and enforce compliance with work health and safety laws, and will notify you if a health and safety issue has been detected during a visit to your workplace.
We have a team of inspectors to ensure that your workplace remains safe, especially after an incident. Inspectors can be a valuable source of information regarding WHS issues and solutions.
Visits by SafeWork SA inspectors to workplaces could be in response to:
- an incident; or
- a complaint; or
- as part of a targeted proactive compliance campaign.
Our inspectors will always introduce themselves to you as an inspector when carrying out their duties. Each Inspector carries identification and will produce this on attendance at the workplace. Our inspectors will also be wearing a SafeWork SA uniform displaying the SA Government logo.
What our inspectors will do during a visit
When a SafeWork SA inspector visits your workplace they will advise you of the purpose of their visit, and may want to:
- inspect the workplace
- speak to the manager, or person in control of the workplace, workers or Health and Safety Representative (HSR)
- review your health and safety documentation
- speak to you about identified hazards and the controls that you have in place.
Inspections may be conducted in the company of a worker, manager or HSR from the business. The inspector may talk to a range of people, gathering as much information as possible about the workplace in order to assist them to take the most appropriate action to reduce the potential for harm.
In undertaking their duties at your workplace, our inspectors may:
- enter any premises they have reason to believe is a place of work
- request a person’s name and address
- determine the outcome of matters raised by HSRs
- assist in resolving disputes relating to entry permit holders
- inspect, examine anything and make enquiries at the workplace
- take measurements, conduct tests and make sketches
- take recordings including photographs, films, audio, video, digital
- require a person at the workplace to give the inspector reasonable help to exercise the inspector’s powers
- gather, examine and copy documents
- ask questions and conduct interviews (in private if necessary)
- remove samples for analysis or seize anything as evidence
- take statements.
You are not required to provide information or documentation that:
- may incriminate you individually or subject you to penalty
- is subject to legal professional privilege.
What you are required to do during an inspection
SafeWork SA realises that you and your co-workers have a job to do. Wherever possible, inspectors will aim to cause minimal disruption to your work, however, it is worth noting that visits can take place with little or no notice. To help the inspection process we ask that you:
- be honest, courteous and provide information as requested
- provide necessary access to the workplace
- provide reasonable help to assist the inspector in their work
- not conceal the existence of a location, person, plant, substance or thing
- comply with the inspectors direction when they exercise their enforcement powers, and
- not hinder or obstruct, impersonate, assault, threatened or intimidate an inspector; to do any of these is an offence.
Enforcement of WHS requirements
While the inspector will always aim to provide guidance on how to meet your WHS requirements, there are circumstances when they may:
- issue an Improvement Notice directing a person or organisation to undertake corrective action for an identified risk
- issue a Prohibition Notice directing the cessation of any activity that creates an immediate risk to the health or safety of workers, visitors to the workplace, or members of the public
- issue an Expiation Notice (an on-the-spot fine) for an identified breach of the legislation
- issue a Non Disturbance Notice, requiring a person to preserve a site, or prevent the disturbance of a particular site, item, plant, substance, structure or thing
- initiate and conduct investigations to identify causes of incidents, injuries and illnesses.
In carrying out their duties, inspectors may request the assistance of other technical or scientific experts. They may also request the assistance of police officers, if required.
In addition to health and safety breaches at the workplace, SafeWork SA can also take action in regards to offences associated with:
- notification of workplace incidents to SafeWork SA
- work licensing requirements
- workplace consultation arrangements
- workplace entry by entry permit holders
- failure to comply with powers exercised by SafeWork SA Inspectors
- misuse of information, including providing false or misleading information and disclosure of confidential information.
Other potential outcomes of compliance and enforcement activities
Our compliance and enforcement activities may lead to:
- prosecutions being filed in the South Australian Employment Tribunal and the Magistrates Court
- an enforceable undertaking.
It is a criminal offence to not comply with our inspectors when they exercise their enforcement powers. 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.
SafeWork SA inspectors are professional, objective and consistent when enforcing the law. They are also accountable for how they do their job. If there is a need to inform SafeWork SA of any aspect of an inspector’s actions, whether it be a compliment or a complaint, please feel free to do so.
Complaints about inspector conduct are investigated independently of the inspector and their line management.
To make a complaint, or to provide a compliment, you may:
- complete our online Complaint/Feedback form
- telephone 1300 365 255 during business hours Monday to Friday.