Victoria Legal Aid

Workplace safety

What the law says about employers and employees responsibilities for healthy, safe workplaces.

You have the right to a healthy and safe workplace. You should not have to work with unsafe equipment, unsafe work systems, or people who hurt you.

If you see something you think is unsafe tell someone like your supervisor or occupational health and safety officer.

In Victoria, the law says that employers are responsible for healthy, safe workplaces. This means your employer must make sure your workplace is safe and without risks to your health or the health of your co-workers. As far as possible, employers need to offer proper training and supervision, adequate facilities and safe systems of work.

Employees also have responsibilities to:

  • take care when at work so that they do not hurt themselves or others
  • tell co-workers and management when equipment is unsafe
  • not do anything that could put people in danger, such as play practical jokes that might hurt someone.

If you are an independent contractor or an employee of a labour hire company, the company that is hiring you is responsible for your health and safety if they have control of the work. This means they have the same responsibility for you as they do for their other employees.

WorkSafe VictoriaExternal Link manages the state’s workplace safety system. If your employer doesn’t provide you with a safe workplace, you can make a complaint to WorkSafe and they may investigate this further. WorkSafe can do a range of things, such as issuing a compliance notice or enforcement order, or prosecuting employers and individuals.

Your employer and others cannot treat you badly because you have made a complaint about workplace safety. This may be unlawful discrimination or unlawful adverse action (in breach of the general protections). Go to Workplace bullying and discrimination and the Fair Work Commission websiteExternal Link for further information.

Other support

Find out how you can get other support for employment.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 08 April 2022

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