I placed a PIN some time ago and WorkSafe made some recommendations. I was wondering if the company has to follow the recommendations.
Our OHS Act requires that an employer issued with a PIN:
- bring the PIN to the attention of all other persons whose work is affected by the notice
- display a copy of the notice in a prominent place in that work area
WorkSafe considers ‘prominent display’ means a place where the notice will be seen without prior knowledge that it is there, and where the relevant people will come across it in the normal course of events and be able to examine it.
The intention is to ensure that both the employer and employees affected by the PIN are aware that it has been issued. This supports an objective of the OHS Act to improve workplace consultation processes, as it ensures the sharing of vital information about workplace health and safety. It also ensures other persons who might be impacted are aware of the PIN.
What choices does the person issued with a PIN have? They have two choices:
- comply with it within the specified time frame, or
- if they wish to dispute the PIN, contact WorkSafe who'll arrange for an inspector to attend the workplace. Such a request must be done within seven days of the PIN being issued.
An inspector who attends completes a PIN Enquiry Outcome Notice, and signs and dates the disputed PIN, recording the PIN Enquiry Notice Outcome and whether the PIN was 'Not valid'; 'Affirmed', 'Affirmed with Modifications' or 'Cancelled'.
Our Inspectors and PINs webpage contains more detail.
An employer, issued with a PIN, who fails to either call in an inspector within seven days or comply within the time specified, is guilty of an offence under our OHS Act.
If an HSR issues a PIN that is not complied with within the specified timeframe HSRs should contact WorkSafe to arrange for an inspector to attend as soon as possible.
If the inspector determines that the PIN meets the requirements of section 60 of the OHS Act and has not been complied with, WorkSafe will then commence a comprehensive investigation into the non-compliance, which may lead to prosecution.
See p45 of WorkSafe’s Employee Representation Guide for more detail.
You mention ‘worksafe made some recommendations’. In what form were those recommendations made? Were they contained in an Improvement Notice, issued after a site visit from an inspector?
Improvement Notices must be complied, with but from your question it is not clear whether those recommendations came in the form of a notice or general discussions about what could be done.
Notices typically require an employer to take action by a specified date. When an inspector visits the relevant HSR should be provided with a copy of the entry report and any applicable notices.
Check out our webpage What to expect when you're expecting a WorkSafe Inspector for more detail.
Were you provided with a copy of the Inspectors Entry Report and any Notices issued to your employer?
Division 8 of our OHS Act deals with Inspectors’ powers to issue notices
Section 111 describes the power to issue improvement notice requiring the employer to remedy a contravention of the Act or regs by a specified date. Such a notice can include can directions concerning measures to be taken.
An Improvement Notice is very similar to a PIN issued by an HSR.
Under section 112 inspectors have the Power to issue prohibition notice if they form a reasonable belief an activity or thing involves an immediate risk to the health and safety. This type of notice prohibits that activity taking place.
Prohibition Notices are like HSR 'Cease Works'.
Notices must be complied with, though in all cases, a person to whom a notice has been issued can seek a review of that notice.
Section 118 deals with injunctions for non-compliance with a notice. This involves WorkSafe applying to the Supreme Court for an injunction, compelling a person to comply with, or restraining them from contravening, a notice.