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Provisional Improvement Notices

A Provisional improvement Notice (PIN) is a notice issued to a person requiring them to address a health and safety concern in the workplace.

A PIN may be issued if an HSR reasonably believes that a person is contravening or has contravened a provision of the WHS Act in circumstances that make it likely that the contravention will continue or be repeated.

The HSR may issue a PIN requiring the person to:

  • remedy the contravention
  • prevent a likely contravention from occurring
  • remedy the things or operations causing the contravention or likely contravention

When can an HSR issue a PIN?

An HSR can issue a PIN only if the HSR has completed an approved HSR training course, or previously completed that training when acting as an HSR of another work group.

Before issuing a PIN, the HSR must consult with the person whom the HSR believes is contravening the provision in the WHS Act or Regulations. This means the HSR should:

  • provide information, either verbally or in writing, to the person about fixing the alleged contravention or activities causing the contravention
  • allow the person an opportunity to express their views and give them adequate time to fix the contravention
  • take into account the views of the person before issuing the PIN.

Consultation can still be said to have occurred even if:

  • the person does not respond to the HSR in a reasonable time or not at all
  • there is no agreement between the HSR and the person. The person does not have to agree that there is or is likely to be contravention or agree on how to fix the matter.

A PIN cannot be issued for a matter that an Inspector has already addressed.

Who can be issued a PIN?

A PIN may be issued to any person. This can include a PCBU (either an organisation or an individual person) or other duty holders such as workers, officers and other persons at the workplace.

It is important that the PIN is issued to the duty holder who has responsibility for the contravention specified in the PIN.

The duty holder should be clearly identified on the PIN so that there is no confusion as to whom it is addressed and is expected to comply with its requirements.

Does the PIN need to be in writing?

Yes. It is not compulsory to use a specific form to issue a PIN, but certain information must be included as outlined in the WHS Act.  A form that may be used is available here.

If there is more than one contravention, a separate PIN must be written for each one.

Can an HSR cancel a PIN?

Yes. An HSR may cancel a PIN at any time by providing a written notice to the person the PIN was issued to. A valid PIN does not need to be cancelled once it has been complied with.

Does a PIN need to be displayed and maintained?

Yes. As soon as it is practicable, the person issued with a PIN must display a copy it in a prominent place at or near the workplace, or part of the workplace, where the work that is affected by the notice is being carried out.

The person who has been issued with a PIN must not intentionally remove, destroy, damage or deface a notice that is being displayed during the period that the notice is in force.

Must a PIN be complied with?

Yes. Unless the Regulator is requested to appoint an Inspector to review the PIN, the person who has been issued with the PIN must comply with the notice within the specified time.

Can a PIN be reviewed by an Inspector?

Yes. The person issued with a PIN, or if they are a worker, their PCBU, can ask SafeWork SA to appoint an Inspector to review the PIN. However, the request must be made within seven days after the PIN was issued.

SafeWork SA must ensure that an Inspector attends the workplace as soon as practicable after a request has been made.

If a request for an Inspector is made, the PIN is temporarily suspended until the Inspector determines the matter.

The Inspector must review the PIN and inquire into the circumstances surrounding the issue.
An Inspector can review a PIN even if the compliance period has expired.

After an Inspector has reviewed the PIN, they must either:

  • confirm the PIN
  • confirm the PIN with changes
  • cancel the PIN.

This decision is a reviewable decision listed in the WHS Act.