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Work health and safety entry permit holders

For: Employers and managers Advocates Information seekers

Work health and safety entry permit holders are union officials who have completed an approved training course and hold, or will hold, an entry permit under the Fair Work Act 2009.

The entry permit holder role explained

Work health and safety entry permit holders can enter a workplace during its usual working hours to:

  • investigate a suspected contravention of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 without prior notice
  • inspect any work system, plant, substance, structure or other thing that is relevant to a 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’ (PCBU)
  • 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.

How to apply for an entry permit

Comcare recognises work health and safety entry permits issued under state and territory laws.

If the state or territory does not have existing right of entry provisions, union officials need to:

Applications for entry permits are made to Fair Work Commission, not Comcare.

Conditions of entry

Entry to investigate a suspected contravention

Entry permit holders are not required to give prior notice of entry.

As soon as is reasonably practicable after entering a workplace, a work health and safety entry permit holder must give a Notice of Entry by WHS Entry Permit Holder form (PDF, 182.6 KB) to the employer.

This rule does not apply if giving notice will defeat the purpose of entry or will unreasonably delay the entry permit holder.

Entry to inspect employee documents or to consult with workers

A work health and safety entry permit holder must give at least 24 hours (but not more than 14 days) notice of a proposed entry to:

  • inspect or make copies of employee records or other documents, directly relevant to a suspected contravention, that are not held by the employer
  • enter a workplace to consult or provide advice on work, health and safety matters to one or more workers.

Entry to security-sensitive and Australian defence facilities

We recommend that unions and employers consider establishing contact and operational protocols to facilitate entry to security-sensitive and Australian defence facilities. For example, an employer should let security and other point-of-entry workers know if an entry permit holder is expected to visit.


Entry permit holder responsibilities

As a work health and safety entry permit holder, you must:

  • always have your entry permit and photographic identification available for inspection on request when you are at a workplace under a right of entry
  • take all reasonable steps to ensure you cause as little inconvenience, detriment or damage at a workplace as possible
  • comply as far as you are reasonably able to with any reasonable instruction given by the employer—for example, to wear protective equipment, to be escorted or to comply with other legislative requirements that a workplace must follow
  • take reasonable care for your own health and safety and ensure that your acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others.

You must not:

  • enter a workplace for the purpose of holding discussions with workers generally
  • insist that a worker participates in consultations when the worker has made it clear that they do not want to
  • enter any part of a premises used solely for residential purposes
  • solicit membership while exercising your entry permit holder duties
  • disclose the name of any worker, either in the written notice or verbally, to an employer unless that worker has consented
  • use or disclose information or documents obtained at a workplace in an unauthorised manner
  • act in an improper manner—that is, refuse to show your entry permit, act in an intimidating, abusive or bullying manner.

Employer responsibilities

An employer must not:

  • without reasonable excuse, refuse or unduly delay an entry permit holder from entering a workplace
  • intentionally and unreasonably hinder or obstruct an entry permit holder from entering a workplace or exercising any rights.

Training for entry permit holders

If you are interested in becoming a Comcare-approved provider of entry permit holder training, see Training providers.

Comcare-approved providers of work health and safety entry permit holder training are:

Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) or Trades and Labour Councils

Creative Safety Initiatives
3 Rosevear Place, Dickson ACT 2602
Phone: (02) 6230 1320
Fax: (02) 6230 1381

Health and Safety Training Australia (HOSTA)
Level 1, 133 Parramatta Road, Granville NSW 2142
PO Box 162, Granville NSW 2142
Phone: 1300 046 78 (1300 HOSTA)
Fax: 1300 046 782

Safe Work College of Workplace Health and Safety
Level 3, TLC, 16 Peel Street, South Brisbane QLD 4101
Phone: (07) 3846 2411
Fax: (07) 3844 9341

Occupational Health and Safety Training Unit
379 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart TAS 7002
Phone: (03) 6234 9553
Fax: (03) 6234 9505

Occupational Health and Safety Training Centre
54 Victoria Street, Carlton South VIC 3053
Phone: (03) 9663 5460
Fax: (03) 9639 0408

CWU National Office
ACTU House, Level 9, 365 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9642 2100
Fax: (03) 9642 0333

Work Health and Safety Training Centre
170 Greenhill Road, Parkside SA 5063
Phone: (08) 8279 2222
Fax: (08) 8279 2223

Unity Training Services
Level 4, 445 Hay Street, Perth WA 6000
Phone: (08) 9227 7809
Fax: (08) 9328 8132

Future Skills Ltd

The Construction Training Centre
Ian Barclay Building Suite 1.1, 460–492 Beaudesert Road, Salisbury QLD 4107
PO Box 55, Moorooka QLD 1405
Freecall: 1300 817 545
Phone: (07) 3848 2298
Fax: (07) 3848 3466

Page last reviewed: 27 January 2023

GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 |

Date printed 18 Jul 2024