The Regulator, Inspectors and Enforcement

This part of the Guide deals with the Regulator and other issues. I’ve left out the stuff on Inspectors, as it is not so relevant; I’ve deliberately excluded material on Enforcement as I think that ‘waving the big stick’ at people is counterporductive.

All “the text” below is from The Guide – please see the Disclaimer and Copyright Statement. I have edited the text to remove some non-essential material.

Role of the Regulator (sections 152-154)

The National Compliance and Enforcement Policy (NCEP) sets out the approach work health and safety regulators take to compliance and enforcement under the WHS Act and Regulations.

Each state, territory and the Commonwealth will continue to have its own regulator to administer the WHS laws in their jurisdiction.

Regulators have a broad range of functions including to:

  • monitor and enforce compliance with the WHS Act and WHS Regulations
  • provide advice and information on work health and safety to duty holders and the community
  • foster a cooperative, consultative relationship between duty holders and the people to whom they owe work health and safety duties, and their representatives
  • promote and support education and training on matters relating to work health and safety
  • engage in, promote and coordinate the sharing of information to achieve the object of the WHS Act, including the sharing of information with other work health and safety regulators
  • conduct and defend legal proceedings under the WHS Act
  • collect, analyse and publish statistics relating to work health and safety, and
  • promote public awareness and discussion of work health and safety matters in the community.

Power of the Regulator to Require Documents and Information (section 155)

The regulator has powers to obtain information by written notice if it reasonably believes a person is capable of giving information, providing documents or giving evidence:

  • in relation to a possible contravention of the WHS Act, or
  • that will assist in monitoring or compliance.

The written notice must be served on the person requiring them to do one or more of the following:

  • provide a signed statement on the required matters within the time and in the manner specified in the notice
  • produce the required documents, or
  • appear before a person appointed by the regulator on a day, and at a time and place specified in the notice (which must be reasonable in the circumstances), and provide the required information and documents. The person may attend with a legal practitioner.

The regulator may only require a person to appear in person after taking all reasonable steps to obtain the required information by other means. It is an offence to refuse or fail to comply with a request without reasonable excuse. However a person may refuse to produce a document or information that is subject to legal professional privilege.

While the regulator may compel answers, self-incriminating answers to questions or information provided cannot be used as evidence against an individual in civil or criminal proceedings, other than proceedings arising out of the false or misleading nature of the answer, information or document.

Now, the bold text in the final sentence is interesting. It’s always better to cooperate with the regulator!

Functions and powers of inspectors (sections 160-162, 171, 172)

Inspectors have the following general functions and powers:”

… I have left out this large section, as it is mostly concerned with workplaces, not design or system safety.

Safety Artisan Instructional Videos cover many of these Topics – follow the ‘WHS Page’ Link, below:

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