Performing inspections under WHS law

A union official may have a right to perform WHS inspections under State or Territory WHS legislation. In order to perform WHS inspections, union officials must ensure they meet certain requirements under

  • the relevant State or Territory WHS legislation, and
  • the Fair Work Act 2009.

An official must not exercise a State or Territory WHS right unless the official is a Federal permit holder.

What must a union official do before entering a site to use a State or Territory WHS right?

A permit holder must, on request, show the occupier of the premises or an affected employer their Federal permit.

A permit holder:

  • may only exercise a State or Territory WHS right during working hours
  • must not exercise a State or Territory WHS right unless he or she complies with any reasonable request by the occupier to observe on-site specific WHS practices.

What if the union official wants to inspect or access employee records?

A permit holder must not exercise a State or Territory WHS right to inspect or otherwise access an employee record, unless by written notice.

The written notice must be provided to:

  • the occupier of the premises
  • any affected employer.

The written notice must:

  • set out his or her intention to exercise the right, and reasons for doing so
  • be delivered at least 24 hours before exercising the right.

The entry notice must name:

  • the site or premises to be entered
  • the day of entry
  • which union the permit holder belongs to.

WHS in your state

There is a separate WHS body for each State and Territory:

State Body Contact number
Australian Capital Territory WorkSafe ACLink opens external website in new tab (02) 6207 3000
New South Wales SafeWork NSW Link opens external website in new tab 13 10 50
Northern Territory NT WorkSafe Link opens external website in new tab 1800 019 115
Queensland Workplace Health and Safety Link opens external website in new tab 1300 362 128
South Australia SafeWork SA Link opens external website in new tab 1300 365 255
Tasmania WorkSafe Tas Link opens external website in new tab 1300 366 322
Victoria WorkSafe Vic Link opens external website in new tab (03) 9641 1444 or 1800 136 089 (toll free)
Western Australia WorkSafe WA Link opens external website in new tab 1300 307 877

Need more information?

For further information, advice or assistance please contact the ABCC at 1800 003 338 or enquiry [at] abcc.gov.au.