14 October 2016 Union officials require federal right of entry permits when entering under state or territory OHS rights

FWBC has become aware of information being distributed in the Victorian industry in relation to union officials exercising State OHS right of entry on building sites.

Under the Fair Work Act, union officials must not exercise a State or Territory OHS right to enter premises unless the official holds a valid federal right of entry permit. 

The Fair Work Act states: “An official of an organisation [i.e. a union official] must not exercise a State or Territory OHS right unless the official is a permit holder [under the Fair Work Act]” - section 494 of the Fair Work Act 2009

Accordingly, union officials seeking to enter a site under a State or Territory OHS law must personally hold a valid right of entry permit under the Fair Work Act.  This includes situations where an OHS law allows an HSR to seek the assistance of another person.

A union official must present their federal right of entry permit for inspection when requested to do so by an occupier of a site, including where the official enters the site under a State or Territory OHS law.

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

Further information on the rights and responsibilities of union officials exercising right of entry for OHS purposes, click here.

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

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