Variance requests

A variance of an occupational health and safety regulation offers you, as an employer, a way to maintain worker health and safety even when Occupational Health and Safety Regulations seem at odds with how a workplace operates.

The key point to any regulation variance is that it must ensure an equivalent or greater degree of safety to workers than that identified in the Regulations.

When you request a variance, you'll need to prove both the following to us.

  • Your workplace is exceptional in some way that the OHS Regulations do not address.

  • You can ensure the full safety and well-being of your workers at a level equal to or greater than that in the Regulations. 

Apply for a variance

To request a variance, you must submit a detailed request directly to the Director of the OHS Branch in writing:

  • a detailed hazard assessment of the proposed work process;

  • a risk assessment of the proposed work process and how it compares to the protection provided by the existing Regulations;

  • an outline of alternate control measures considered other than the proposed measures included in the Application for Variance; and

  • a plan outlining how workers will be trained and supervised under the proposed work process.

  • We may also require, at your expense, written evidence from a professional engineer, safety professional, hygienist or an expert in the related industry or occupation, that the requested work process equals or exceeds protection for the health and safety of workers provided for in existing OHS Regulations.

You can use this Application for Variance of an OH&S Regulation as a template for preparing your application. 

Submit your application well in advance of when you'll actually need the variance in place. We carefully consider each request and that can take some time.

More information

Contact us if you have any questions and ask for the Director of OHS.