The role of WorkSafe inspectors

Understanding the role of WorkSafe inspectors in workplace health and safety.

WorkSafe inspectors are responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation (Acts and Regulations). They have wide-ranging powers to help them fulfil their functions.

Inspectors have powers to:

  • enter, inspect and examine workplaces
  • conduct investigations and enquiries
  • take samples, photographs, records and measurements
  • take possession of materials
  • ask that the workplace be left undisturbed
  • interview anyone at the workplace
  • ask for assistance from anyone at the workplace.

Inspectors have to avoid unduly or unreasonably interfering with the work being carried out in any workplace. Inspectors may issue written directions called improvement notices and prohibition notices.

Improvement and prohibition notices

An improvement notice is a written direction requiring a person to fix a health and safety problem in a workplace. The notice will state the part of the Act or Regulations covering the offence and will set a date by which the improvement must be completed.

A prohibition notice is a written direction that prohibits, at once, any activity where the inspector thinks someone may be at risk of serious harm.

The inspector will remain at the workplace until the employer has been told about the notice and the activity has stopped.

In Victoria, WorkSafe inspectors may issue improvement or prohibition notices. Health and safety representatives may issue provisional improvement notices.

Improvement and prohibition notices give reasons explaining why they have been issued and may set out specific actions which must be taken to fix the problem.

The employer must display the improvement or prohibition notice in a place where it can be easily seen, at or near any work area affected by the notice, until the requirements of the notice have been met.

A person who has been issued a notice, or that person's employer, can ask for a review of the notice if they disagree with the inspector's opinion. Such appeals must be made in writing, within seven days of receiving the notice.


Students can complete the following Role of WorkSafe Inspectors activities: