Legal Obligation

The Work Health & Safety (WHS) Act provides a legal framework to protect the health, safety and welfare of all workers at work and of other people who might be affected by the work. Failure to comply with this compulsory obligation is a Criminal Offence. You must be able to demonstrate that you have fulfilled your legal obligations by having an up-to-date Workplace Health & Safety Compliance System in place.

Section 19 (c) of the Work Health & Safety Act requires all businesses, regardless of size or industry, to “provide and maintain safe systems of work”. Non-compliance with this legislation is a criminal offence.

There are three categories of Criminal Offence for breaches of health and safety duties.

Category 1 – a duty holder, without reasonable excuse, engages in conduct that recklessly exposes a person to a risk of death or serious injury or illness.

Category 2 – a duty holder fails to comply with a health and safety duty that exposes a person to risk of death or serious injury or illness.

Category 3 – a duty holder simply fails to comply with a health and safety duty. (EXPOSURE TO RISK DOES NOT NEED TO OCCUR)


Penalties for breach of health and safety duty offences (PER OFFENCE)

BODY CORP (The Business) PCBU (Managers & Directors) OFFICER (Workers)
Category 1 $3 million $600 000, five years in jail or both $300 000, five years jail or both
Category 2 $1.5 million $300 000 $150 000
Category 3 $500 000 $100 000 $50 000

The WHS Act also provides the court with a number of additional sentencing options. These options may be exercised in addition to the imposition of penalty under the penalty regime set out above (section 235(2) of the WHS Act).

Chapter 4 Hazardous Work
Part 4.7
Division 3
150 Inspection And Testing Of Electrical Equipment

Penalties for Individuals and Body Corporate

  1. In the case of an individual – $3600
  2. In the case of a body corporate – $18000

Here are some links to the WorkSafe SA website and Government Legislation website.