DCS - Directions to Cease Unsafe Work

17 January 2020

The PSA has called on SafeWork SA to clarify its procedures and interpretations when inspecting worksites after directions to cease unsafe work are issued.

A number of significant departures from a SafeWork SA operating procedure and novel interpretations of the Act coming out of a recent investigation process by SafeWork at the Adelaide Women’s Prison have given rise to general concerns about how SafeWork deals with directions to cease unsafe work.

The PSA has written to SafeWork SA requesting confirmation about their interpretation of certain aspects of the Act and clarification about their operating procedures. We have requested a response by 31 January 2020. The letter is here.

This followed a direction to cease unsafe work issued by a Health and Safety Representative at the Adelaide Women’s Prison in December last year. The direction was issued due to the unsafe work environment caused by a lack of duty statements, procedures, training and direction following DCS’s Benchmarking implementation.

The HSR deemed the worksite to be unsafe and that workers were exposed to immediate and imminent risk due to the work practices being implemented by DCS.

In order for your HSRs to be confident in protecting the safety of workers at their sites it is critical that SafeWork SA clarify their procedures and interpretations of the Act.

The PSA has also advised SafeWork SA of our serious concerns that SafeWork SA may not have fully considered the inherently hazardous and risky nature of a prison environment in which the safety of workers is dependent on accurate duty statements and procedures.

The PSA will keep members informed of the response from SafeWork SA.