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.
We have a team of inspectors to ensure 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, complaint, or as part of a targeted proactive compliance program. Our inspectors will always identify themselves when they visit a workplace and can produce formal identification on request. Our inspectors will be wearing a SafeWork SA uniform with SA Government logo. They will also drive a SA Government plated vehicle.
What our inspectors will do during a visit
Inspections may be conducted in the company of a worker, manager or Health and Safety Representative (HSR) from the business. The inspector may talk to a range of people, gathering as much information as possible about the workplace to provide relevant guidance and 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 affidavits.
Where a WHS issue has been raised and a SafeWork SA inspector visits a workplace, they will evaluate the situation prior to making a decision on what, if any, action should be taken. The evaluation takes into account a number of factors including:
- the nature and seriousness of the issue
- the outcome of any previous interactions with SafeWork SA
- the commitment of the workplace to ensure continuous improvement to WHS.
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.
What you are required to do during an investigation
If a SafeWork SA investigator visits your premises following an incident you are required to:
- co-operate 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.
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
- 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.
Our compliance and enforcement activities may lead to:
- prosecutions being filed in the South Australian Employment Tribunal and the Magistrates Court
- an enforceable undertaking
- an expiation notice being issued.
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.
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.