SafeWork NSW hires more inspectors to boost compliance

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Wednesday, 23 June, 2021 - 09:30
Policy & legislation
New South Wales

SafeWork NSW has allocated an additional $6.4 million to increase the number of inspectors and associated support staff to assist in reducing NSW’s workplace injury and fatality rates.

The funding will be used to recruit 40 new inspectors to add to the 330 strong team, and the additional inspectors will lift the ratio in NSW to one inspector for every 10,000 workers – in line with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) benchmark and ahead of jurisdictions including Victoria and Queensland.

Recruitment for the new inspectors has already commenced, with new inspectors expected to join SafeWork progressively over the next 24 months.

“The NSW Government’s focus has always been on preventing incidents from taking place and our inspectors play a key role on the frontline educating business and ensuring workplaces remain safe,” said NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson.

Last financial year, SafeWork inspectors made 40,297 proactive and reactive visits, issued 8504 improvements notices and 448 penalty notices.

“These efforts make a real difference when it comes to our safety at work. Under this Government, workplace fatalities have reduced by 25 per cent, and injuries are almost 30 per cent down in the last 10 years,” Minister Anderson said.

“In 2020 NSW introduced the strongest workplace legislation in the country to deter poor workplace practices through increased penalties and making it easier to prosecute employees who put workers at risk of serious injury or death.”

Minister Anderson said SafeWork inspectors have special powers to stop unsafe practices immediately and issue on-the-spot fines of up to $3600 to anyone who disregards the safety of others.

“Our focus will continue to be on working with businesses proactively to identify workplace risks early and stamp out unsafe practices before an accident happens,” said Minister Anderson.

“Every time an inspector issues an improvement notice and an unsafe practice is rectified, our workplaces become safer for everyone.”