Q. How long before a PIN can be issued after a contravention?

Under the 2011 WHS Act, a rep can issue a PIN to the employer at any time, but there is a requirement that he or she has consulted with the employer about alleviating the contravention or likely contravention.

(In fact, the rep may issue a PIN to any person who is contravening or has contravened the Act or the regulations.)

Under Section 90 of the WHS Act, the rep must have consulted with the person regarding “remedy the contravention or likely contravention”.  If the person’s response is unsatisfactory, then the rep has the right to issue a PIN.

The WHS rep who asked this question said, “The employer always says he can’t find the money to fix things in our workplace, and there are more pressing things to spend the budget on. So how long do I have to wait before I can issue a PIN?”

Employers have a legal duty to provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace – as far as reasonably practicable (See “Important Definitions”)  While this means that cost can be one consideration, the employer cannot simply use cost as an excuse not to remedy contraventions of the Act or regulations.