Dowell Solutions has received many inquiries from employers concerned about Provisional Improvement Notices (PINs), what they must do if one is received, and under what circumstances can they be applied. We understand that many employers, now known as PCBUs, maybe feeling that they have been left in the dark about these PINs unless they have attended the bridging HSR Course themselves.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a fact sheet or notice developed by governing authorities regarding advice on what PCBUs should do or can expect in regards to PINs. Hopefully, this article will help you gain some understanding of it.

Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN)

PINs are notices received from a trained HSR in regards to a serious contravention of the WHS Act that is likely to be or will be repeated. The model PIN template is available here.

However, what you may not know is the HSR must:

  • Have completed the appropriate training to be able to issue PINs i.e. the 1 Day Bridging Course (if the initial OHS consultation/committee course has been completed) or the 5-day HSR Course.
  • Have consulted with the PCBU regarding the hazard/risk prior to issuing a PIN.
  • Declare that they have consulted with the PCBU or the person receiving the PIN on the PIN form.
  • List what part of the Act or Regulations are being breached/contravened to be able to serve a PIN.
  • Provide a brief outline of the contravention.
  • Set a timeframe of no less than 8 days for compliance to the PIN.

The HSR may provide recommendations on how to prevent or rectify the situation.

What can PCBUs/Employers do if a PIN is received?

Upon receipt of a PIN the PCBU/employer has 3 options of response. These are:

  • Remedy the situation by the dates listed on the PIN, or respond to the HSR advising that remedy will take place and when, if it cannot be completed by the designated date.
  • Contact NSW WorkCover to advise that the PIN is in dispute within 7 days of the date on the PIN.
  • Request NSW WorkCover to review the PIN, this must be done also within 7 days of receiving the PIN.

The PCBU must display the PIN in a prominent place until it is resolved.

What happens if NSW WorkCover becomes involved?

A NSW WorkCover inspector can either:

  • Advise that they confirm the PIN, however, the PIN then goes from a PIN to a NSW WorkCover Improvement Notice issued by the inspector.
  • Advise that they confirm the PIN with changes.
  • Deny the PIN.

Therefore, a PCBU receiving the PIN should never be surprised as the PCBU must have been consulted about the issue prior to receiving the PIN. When delivering the HSR Course, Dowell Solutions discusses with students that PINs should really be a last resort, that the consultation process with the PCBU can include a hazard report that includes risk assessment that has been completed on the hazard.