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Investigation and prosecution timeframes

The Office of Industrial Relations generally has two years from when an offence first comes to its notice in which to commence a prosecution. To allow ample time for review, investigations should be completed and a file submitted to the Senior Director Prosecution Services within nine months of being allocated to an Investigations Manager. When this milestone cannot be met, an exception report stating reasons for the delay must be submitted to and accepted by the State Investigations Manager.

Legal Officers will prepare a memorandum of advice concerning whether a prosecution should commence and submit this to the Senior Director Prosecution Services within two months of an investigation file being received from an Investigations Manager.

The Senior Director Prosecution Services will make and record a decision concerning whether a prosecution should commence within one month of a memorandum of advice being received from a Legal Officer.

Note: The statutory time limit (under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the Electrical Safety Act 2002 and the Safety in Recreational Waters Activities Act 2011) to escalate investigations to prosecution is two years. However, the Office of Industrial Relations endeavours to investigate death, serious injury or illness and dangerous incidents, and make decisions as to prosecution or other appropriate action within one year of notification. To support this, investigators and legal officers work to performance indicators. While these apply in most cases, some investigations are factually and legally complex or involve large volumes of material. In such cases, processes and performance indicators may not be met.


1. Investigations

The total number of OIR investigations completed 224
The total number and % completed within nine months 179 (80%)
The total number and % completed within nine months or with an accepted exception report 188 (84%)

2. Memorandum of advice

The total number of memorandum of advice 161
The total number and % completed within two months 85 (53%)

3. Decision concerning prosecution

The total number of decisions concerning prosecutions made and recorded 153
The total number and % completed within one month 139 (91%)
Last updated
02 July 2018

Codes of Practice are now an enforceable standard to manage hazards and risks

A Work Health and Safety inspector may refer to an approved code of practice when issuing an improvement or prohibition notice.


Updated work safety codes of practice enforceable from 1 July 2018

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