Resolving health and safety issues

How to handle health and safety concerns in the workplace.

Employers, employees and health and safety representatives are encouraged to co-operate in order to resolve health and safety issues.

If you are working on a task that you believe is unsafe or unhealthy you can take the following steps:

  1. Talk to your supervisor and health and safety representative about the problem. If the issue cannot be resolved, go to the employer.
  2. Try to agree on ways to fix the problem. If you are in danger you may be given different work to do until the risk has been dealt with.
  3. If you cannot agree upon a safe course of action your employer or health and safety representative may ask a WorkSafe inspector to visit.
  4. Inspectors take whatever action they consider appropriate. Improvement and prohibition notices may be issued.

The right to refuse work

If you believe the work you are doing is dangerous and there is a risk of serious injury or harm to yourself or others, then you can refuse to do this work. You must tell your supervisor (or employer) and your health and safety representative of your concerns.

An employer can give you other work to do, away from the danger, while the issue is being addressed.

If you have refused to work on reasonable grounds, you must receive the same pay and other benefits (if any) that you usually get. This is not the case if you have left the workplace without the authorisation of the employer or if you have refused to do reasonable alternative work.


Students can complete the following Working Safely activities: