Business rights and responsibilities

Employers have rights and responsibilities regarding workplace health and safety.  A duty of care exists to provide for the protection to the health, safety and welfare of workers and others within a workplace.

An employers' responsibility includes:

  • Ensuring workers receive sufficient information, instruction and training in the work that the worker may be required to perform.
  • Enabling the worker to perform the work without risk to the health and safety of the worker, or any other person.
  • Ensuring that workplace infrastructure or equipment, and workplace materials are  maintained in a safe condition.
  • Ensuring the safe handling, packaging, storage and transport of chemicals such as dangerous goods and other harmful materials.
  • Providing adequate facilities that your workers can access while at work (such as clean and hygenic toilets and eating areas).

Employers have a right to:

  • Immediate notification of a direction by the health and safety representative on an issue to stop work.
  • Request the review and appeal improvement or enforcement notices issued by NT WorkSafe.

Rehabilitation and compensation

Employers must arrange a workers' compensation policy if they employ a worker. A worker is a natural person who, under contract or agreement of any kind, performs work or a service of any kind for another person.

Individual contractors employed by you are also workers unless the person:

  • is paid to achieve a specified result or outcome, and
  • has to supply plant, and equipment or tools of trade, needed to perform the work or service, and
  • is, or would be, liable for the cost of rectifying any defect arising out of the work or service performed.

Or, the person has a personal services business determination in effect under section 87-60 of the 'Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth)'.

Employers also have a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to provide an injured worker with suitable employment and must as far as practicable participate in efforts to retrain the injured worker.​​​

Keeping the workplace safe

The following measures can assist businesses to keep their workplace safe.

Training and supervision

Providing the correct training and supervision allows workers to do their jobs properly and safely. Induction, site and task specific training must be given to a worker when they first start work and at a minimum cover the following:

  • who are the people who have specific workplace safety responsibilities
  • how to report a hazard or other safety issue
  • the safe work procedures for their job
  • the available information to help them do their job safely (for example, machine operators manual).

Supervision is required to ensure health and safety in the workplace. The level of supervision required depends on the age and experience of the worker and the hazards associated with their tasks. Young and inexperience workers in general will require a higher level of supervision.


Employers who consult with their workers will gain a better idea of the hazards that are present in their workplace. It is also a requirement under legislation to consult with workers when making decisions that will affect their health or safety in the workplace.

Consulting with workers on health and safety issues demonstrates a employers commitment to heath and safety and will encourage workers to communicate health and safety issues.

Risk management

Employers should assess the risk to health and safety in their workplace by:

  • identifying any hazards in the workplace
  • assessing the hazards risk to health and safety
  • eliminating or controlling the risk, and
  • monitoring and reviewing the control measures to ensure on-going safety.

Reporting procedure

Setting up a procedure for workers to report safety issues, hazards, incidents, injuries and illnesses will assist an employer by:

  • identifying potential issues early
  • understanding why incidents have happened
  • deciding how to prevent incidents
  • measuring how well safe work procedures are working
  • meeting your requirements for reporting workplace injuries and incidents.

Video Resources

Related Forms and Resources

Alternative employer incentive scheme (AEIS)
Rehabilitation – Information for employers
Return to work plans (RTWP)
Return to work proposal
Workers compensation insurance requirements for employers
Application for renewal as an accredited vocational rehabilitation provider - RENEWAL
Application to become a vocational rehabilitation provider - NEW