Protections for workers

A person or a business cannot discriminate or take other negative steps against you because of your involvement in work health and safety. No one is allowed to pressure or mislead people around their roles, powers or entitlements under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA).

HSWA protects your involvement in work health and safety when:

  • raising an issue or concern about health and safety
  • ceasing work because you believe it is unsafe or unhealthy
  • taking part in resolving a health and safety issue
  • taking action to seek compliance
  • acting as an HSR, a member of an HSC, or other role under HSWA
  • using your lawful powers as an HSR or member of an HSC (eg directing someone to cease unsafe work).

Examples of negative steps

Actions which could be considered negative steps include doing, or threatening to do, any of the following:

  • dismissing or refusing the employment of a worker or contractor
  • terminating, or refusing to enter an agreement with, a worker or contractor
  • refusing to offer you or another worker the same work conditions available to similar workers (eg terms of employment, training, or promotion)
  • treating you differently to similar workers in a way that negatively impacts your employment, job performance or satisfaction.

Note

Your employment can't be terminated if you report a health and safety issue or refuse to work because you believe it's unsafe to do so. It’s against the law for a person or business to discriminate or take other negative steps against you because you've spoken up about workplace health and safety. 

It is also against the law for anyone to:

  • seek to threaten someone so that they use (or don’t use) a power under HSWA
  • seek to threaten you or a workmate so they stop being an HSR or HSC member
  • deliberately give you or a workmate false or misleading information about HSWA, including your rights, obligations and ability to start or participate in a process or make a complaint.

If you or your workmates have concerns, you can talk to us in confidence.