Key elements of the department’s regulatory enforcement regime are inspections, investigations and compliance activities. The aim of departmental staff is to determine if a breach of the law has occurred, or is occurring, and to correct these by means of education or enforcement.
Inspections and investigations are usually one-to-one transactions, such as an inspector entering a workplace to ensure compliance against occupational safety and health requirements. These services may require several occasions of contact or supplementary tasks. The provision of these services usually requires a site visit by an inspector.
This efficiency indicator includes the number of investigations reported via the case management system, and includes audits carried out by inspectors on registered assessors and licence holders, inspections on workplace premises and investigations of businesses or employer.
The total cost of service is divided by the number of inspections and investigations in the reporting period to produce an average cost per inspection or investigation.
The department conducted 7,139 inspections and investigations in 2017–18 which is lower than the 2016-17 figure of 7,540 and the target (8,406). This is due to increased volume, complexity and scope of serious injury and fatality investigations, which has reduced the number of available inspector resources to conduct other investigations and inspections.
The average cost per inspection or investigation in 2017–18 of $2,323 was therefore 10 per cent higher than the 2016–17 result of $2,111 and 20 per cent higher than the target of $1,929.
Table 36: Key efficiency indicator 3.2: Average cost per inspection or investigation