Work Health and Safety Act 2012 - Workplace Entry Permits
Click here to view the Register of WHS entry permits.
Click here to view a sample WHS entry permit card issued by the Registrar.
The Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) regulates the entry into workplaces by WHS entry permit holders (see (ss. 117-122). WHS entry permits are issued to officials of a registered union. Under the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the definition of WHS entry permit in s.4 includes a WHS entry permit issued under a corresponding WHS law. This means that a state- or territory-issued WHS entry permit is recognised for the purposes of entry to a Commonwealth workplace and exercise of relevant rights at a Commonwealth workplace, and a separate Commonwealth-issued WHS entry permit is not required. Click here to find a Commonwealth-issued WHS entry permit.
The "authorising authority" of the permits may issue WHS workplace entry permits in accordance with the requirements of Part 7, Division 5 of the Act. The authorising authority is the Industrial Relations Commission of South Australia. However under the Rules the Registrar of the Commission issues the permits. The permit is only issued after taking into account the matters in s. 132 and being satisfied the applicant meets the eligibility criteria in s. 133 of the Act. The form of the permit is determined by the Registrar, taking into account the requirements of the Act. In particular, s. 125 provides that a WHS entry permit holder must, at all times that he or she is at a workplace under a WHS right of entry, have his or her WHS entry permit and photographic identification available for inspection by any person on request. It is not compulsory for the WHS entry permit to include a photograph of the permit holder, but if it doesn't, the permit holder must have other photographic identification available for inspection.
The named entry permit holder is entitled, while the WHS entry permit is in place, to exercise the rights given to the WHS entry permit holder under the South Australian Work Health and Safety Act 2012 and the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Divisions 2, 3 and 4 (ss. 117-130) regulate the entry into workplaces by a permit holder.
The Registrar is also required to publish a register of WHS permits on the Commission's website. Click here to view the Register of WHS entry permits.
An application may be made to the Commission under section 138 of the WHS Act to revoke a WHS entry permit, or under section 142 to deal with a dispute about right of entry under the WHS Act (including disputes under section 128 about whether a request about entry is reasonable). Form 26 - Application in Respect of a WHS Entry Permit
Applying for a WHS entry permit
The application for a WHS entry permit is made by the relevant union, however the person who is to hold the WHS entry permit must complete the statutory declaration set out at the end of the application form. A copy of the statement/certificate of completion of the prescribed training must also be attached to the statutory declaration. A separate application form is to be completed for each person.
S. 125 provides that a WHS entry permit holder must, at all times that he or she is at a workplace under a WHS right of entry, have his or her WHS entry permit and photographic identification available for inspection by any person on request. To facilitate this, the person to be issued the permit may:
- attend the Commission's Registry, produce this application, and submit to a photograph being taken by Registry staff; or
- attach to the statutory declaration a passport-style photograph of the permit holder, taken within the previous 6 months, with the name of the permit holder on the reverse side. (See below for guidelines on providing an acceptable photograph.)
A public register of WHS entry permit holders who have been issued a permit will be published on the Commission's website industrialcourt.sa.gov.au
Click here to view Rules 104 to 107 inclusive of the Industrial Proceedings Rules 2010.
If a photograph is to be attached to the application for inclusion on the WHS entry permit, the following guidelines should be observed to ensure an acceptable photograph is provided.
The photograph must:
- be taken no more than six months before lodgement;
- have the name of the permit holder written on the reverse side;
- are not stapled to the form;
- be centred, clear and in sharp focus with no shadows;
- be of high quality, with no ink marks or creases;
- have appropriate brightness and contrast that show skin tones naturally;
- have a background that provides a contrast to the face and hair;
- show a close up of the permit holder's head and the top of the shoulders, specifically:
- show the permit holder alone;
- with a neutral expression ;
- squarely facing the camera;
- eyes open and clearly visible;
- no head coverings such as hats or caps (if an applicant wears a head covering for religious purposes, a photograph of the applicant wearing it will be accepted provided all facial features are clearly shown);
- if permit holders normally wear glasses, they do not need to wear them for the photograph. If they do, tinted lenses are not permitted, the photograph must show the eyes clearly, and there must be no flash reflection off the glasses;
- hair does not cover the face and the face/eyes are visible;
- ears do not need to be visible in the photo.
Return of permit
Under s.150 of the Act, the union must advise the Registrar if:
- the WHS entry permit holder resigns from or otherwise leaves the union; or
- the WHS entry permit holder has had any entry permit granted under a corresponding WHS law, or the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) or the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth) (no matter when in force) cancelled or suspended or if the holder is no longer eligible to exercise a right of entry under section 140 of the Fair Work Act 1994 (SA); or
- the union ceases to be an organisation that is registered, or taken to be registered, under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (Cth) or the Fair Work Act 1994 (SA).
The permit holder is required to return the permit to the Registrar within 14 days of the permit expiring, being revoked, being suspended, or having a condition imposed on it. A permit expires:
- at the end of the term of the WHS entry permit (usually 3 years);
- at the end of the term of the entry permit held by the WHS entry permit holder under:
- the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth); or
- the Fair Work Act 1994 (SA) (being when the relevant person ceases to have a right of entry under section 140 of that Act);
- when the permit holder ceases to be an official of the union that applied for the permit; or
- the union that applied for the permit ceases to be:
- an organisation that is registered, or taken to be registered, under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (Cth); or
- an association of employees or independent contractors, or both, that is registered or recognised as such an association (however described) under the Fair Work Act 1994 (SA).
Renewal of permit
Entry permits have an expiry date, normally 3 years after the issue date.
About 4 weeks before expiry, the Registrar will send a notice to the Union (Association) which applied for the permit, reminding them that the nominated holder's permit is about to expire and of the need to return it to the Registrar within 14 days of the permit expiring.
If a new permit is required for that permit holder, the Union (Association) must complete a fresh application and attach:
- a statutory declaration (this forms part of the application form available from our website);
- a copy of the certificate of completion of the prescribed training. The certificate used to obtain the expiring entry permit satisfies the prescribed training requirement;
- if photographic ID is desired on the permit card, either
- a photo of the permit holder taken within the last 6 months (with the name of the permit holder written on the back); or
- the permit holder may attend the Commission premises and we will take a photo;and
- the expired permit card.