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Authorised Union Official’s Right To Enter Workplace To Investigate A WHS Matter


The WHS Act and Fair Work Act allows a union official who holds a permit holder to enter a workplace to:

  • inquire into a reasonable suspicion;
  • inspect employee records or other documents that are directly relevant to the contravention; and
  • consult with and advise workers in relation to WHS matters.

In the ACT, a WHS permit holder must also hold a Fair Work permit.

General requirements when a WHS permit holder exercises right of entry:

  • The permit holder will need to give prior notice of entry
  • Compliance with permit conditions
  • Compliance with reasonable requests; and
  • Non-disclosure of names of workers without consent.

Notice of entry

An entry permit holder must give notice of the proposed entry and the suspected contravention to the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), and the person managing or in control of the site. The permit holder must give at least 24 hours and no more than 14 days before the entry. The notice must be given during usual working hours at the workplace.

This obligation does not apply if giving notice would:

  • defeat the purpose of the entry to the workplace; or
  • unreasonably delay the entry permit holder in an urgent case.

Failure to comply by relevant PCBU

The relevant PCBU may refuse to allow the entry permit holder to inspect or make copies of a document if that would contravene a law of the Commonwealth or State.

However, if a relevant PCBU refuses, without reasonable excuse, a permit holder’s entry request, the PCBU is liable for contravention of a civil penalty provision and faces a fine up to $10,000 for an individual or $50,000 for a body corporate.

Therefore, MBA encourages members to comply with your obligations under the law in relation to allowing entry to site where right of entry is lawfully exercised.

For more information, please click the links below:

WHS entry permit holders – WorkSafe ACT

Lawful entry to a site | ABCC