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WHS entry permit holders

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) details the functions, obligations and powers of work health and safety entry permit holders (WHS-EPHs). WHS-EPHs must satisfactorily complete prescribed training before entering a workplace to inquire into a suspected contravention of the WHS Act.

Who are entry permit holders?

A WHS-EPH is a union official who has completed an approved training course and holds or will hold an entry permit under the Fair Work Act 2009. Part 7 of the WHS Act details the functions, obligations and powers of WHS-EPHs.

What does an entry permit holder do?

A WHS-EPH may enter a workplace during its usual working hours to:

  • inquire into a suspected contravention of the WHS Act without prior notice
  • inspect any work system, plant, substance, structure or other thing that is relevant to the suspected contravention 
  • talk with any worker who is entitled to be represented by the union 
  • consult with the relevant person conducting the business or undertaking
  • warn anyone they reasonably believe is exposed to a serious health or safety risk 
  • ask to look at and make copies of any relevant records or documents kept at the workplace in hard copy or stored on a computer. 

For additional information on the duties of entry permit holders see:

What sort of training is required to hold an entry permit? Who conducts the training?

A WHS-EPH must have satisfactorily completed the prescribed training. The WHS Regulations state that entry permit holder training must be provided by a Comcare approved provider. To support this training across all jurisdictions a training package has been developed and is available from Comcare.

Entry holder permits issued under all corresponding state and territory laws will be recognised in the Commonwealth jurisdiction. Where no existing right of entry provisions apply in a state or territory, union officials will need to source a training provider approved by Comcare and apply to Fair Work Australia for an entry permit under Part 7 of the WHS Act.

The requirements for the prescribed WHS-EPH training can be found in Part 2.4 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011. Applications for a WHS entry permit are made to Fair Work Commission, not Comcare.

Becoming a Comcare approved provider of WHS-EPH training

Comcare has developed two documents for training providers that will help them develop a WHS-EPH training course for submission to Comcare for approval.

The first document How to become an approved provider of WHS-EPH training for the Commonwealth jurisdiction—WHS-EPH training guidance 1 helps training providers apply for approval to conduct WHS-EPH training under the WHS Act. It includes information about:

  • the approval process
  • trainer qualifications 
  • requirements for approval of an original course of training 
  • conditions of approval 
  • renewal of approved status 
  • compliance monitoring and enforcement.

The second document WHS-EPH training course requirements—WHS-EPH training course guidance 2 consists of:

  • the underpinning principles for the development of an original WHS-EPH training course 
  • learning outcomes for WHS-EPH training courses 
  • learning objectives. 

Who can apply for approval to deliver WHS-EPH training?

A training organisation, company or sole trader may apply for approval to deliver initial and/or refresher WHS-EPH training.

Approved training courses

Additional information

Contacts

Page last updated: 14 May 2014