04 November 2016 Court decision concerning Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act

On 3 November 2016, Justice Bromberg of the Federal Court ruled that, in Victoria, union officials who are invited to enter a site by a Health and Safety Representative (HSR) under s 58 of Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, are not required to hold a valid federal right of entry permit.

The court concluded that federal right of entry laws do not apply to entries by invitation of an HSR under s 58 of the Victorian OHS legislation.

Where a union official seeks to exercise a right of entry under another provision of the State OHS law, that is, seeks a right of entry other than under s 58, the Fair Work Act provides that they must have a valid federal right of entry permit. 

FWBC is carefully reviewing the Court’s decision and its implications, including in respect of other State jurisdictions.

Employers should ensure they are fully aware of their obligations under relevant State OHS laws and seek advice and assistance from State OHS regulators and industry associations.

FWBC is the Commonwealth Regulator responsible for investigating compliance with, and enforcing, the Fair Work Act in the building and construction industry, including right of entry laws.

FWBC will continue to update the industry in relation to developments concerning right of entry issues.

For further information or assistance contact the FWBC Hotline on 1800 003 338.

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