Understanding Work Health and Safety Improvement Notices

State workplace health and safety regulators have the power to issue improvement notices to businesses they believe have contravened, or are contravening, the State’s workplace health and safety legislation. It is important that businesses understand what these notices are and how to comply with them to avoid penalties or further proceedings.

What is an improvement notice?

A document issues to an employer by a State work health and safety regulator (regulator).

This document will seek that the employer stops or prevents contraventions of workplace health and safety legislation.

Requirements of an improvement notice

While the legislation varies from State to State, the model workplace health and safety act provides the general requirements of an improvement notice. In order for an improvement notice to be valid it must set out:

  • That the inspector issuing the notice believes the business is contravening the Legislation, or alternatively, that the business has contravened the Legislation in such a way that there will likely be repeat contraventions;
  • The actual section of the Legislation the inspector believes has or is being contravened;
  • How the inspector says the Legislation has or is being contravened; and
  • A date that the alleged contravention(s) must be remedied by.


If a valid notice has been issued, it must be complied with. If a business views the decision to issue an improvement notice was not reasonable, or that they are not able to comply with the notice within the timeframe provided, they can seek a review of the decision or an extension of time.

Find more information on compliance and appeals here