Media Releases

SafeWork SA chief resigns amid review

November 23, 2022

SafeWork SA Executive Director Martyn Campbell yesterday announced his intention to resign. His resignation comes amid the root and branch review into SafeWork SA.

Campbell, appointed by the former Marshall Liberal government, will be replaced by Glenn Farrell in an acting capacity.

The review is being led by veteran safety regulator John Merritt (former head of WorkSafe Victoria). The review has so far brought to light structural, cultural and funding issues. The Review is ongoing until the end of the year, with preliminary results to be published in mid-January.

SA Unions own extensive submission to the review has 40 recommendations to improve SafeWork SA and to make workplaces safer.

"Our workplace health and safety system is broken. Too many workers go to work and don’t return home the same, or return home at all," said Dale Beasley, SA Unions Secretary.

"In South Australia there just isn't a strong 'cop on the beat', every year the number of worksite inspections reduces by the thousands, but the issues with SafeWork SA are more than just being grossly underfunded,” said Beasley.

"SafeWork SA lacks accountability, it's decisions and actions aren't transparent, nor are they independent. There's little ability to review or dispute decisions of SafeWork SA and its workplace safety that suffers," said Beasley.

According to the ACTU's 2022 Work Shouldn't Hurt Survey, 80% of HSRs haven't seen a SafeWork SA Inspector in their workplaces in the last 12 months, despite 47% of SA respondents reporting injuries sustained in their workplaces requiring hospitalisation in the same period.

Trained Union Safety Experts conduct site inspections to investigate hazards and immediate safety risks, when it's time to contact SafeWork SA, and regulator elects to not investigate these incidents or hazards, or respond to the reports provided by the union, and there's no requirement to explain why.  

"When SafeWork SA is asleep at the wheel, nobody else is empowered to act to make the workplace safer," said Beasley.

"HSRs are volunteers in their workplaces and the system puts immense pressure on them, with little to no support," said Beasley.