Who are NICNAS Inspectors?

NICNAS inspectors are appointed by the Director of NICNAS. They are usually NICNAS staff, but the Director also has the authority under the Act to make arrangements for certain State and Territory public servants to exercise inspectorate powers for NICNAS.


NICNAS inspectors conduct:

  • Site visits to monitor compliance with the Act; and

  • Investigations into suspected and/or reported breaches of the Act.

Section 86(5) of the Act provides that searches to monitor compliance with the Act can be conducted where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that:

  • An industrial chemical is being manufactured;

  • An industrial chemical, whether imported into Australia or manufactured in Australia, is being stored, processed or used; or

  • Records relating to the importation, manufacturing, handling, storage, use or disposal of an industrial chemical are kept.

An inspector may enter premises for the purposes of ascertaining compliance with the Act if the inspector has the consent of the occupier of the premises. If the consent is not given, the inspector may apply to a Court for a warrant to enter the premises.

Conducting an inspection

Under s86 of the Act, the inspector(s) may, to the extent that it is reasonably necessary for ascertaining compliance or non-compliance with the Act:

  1. Search the premises;

  2. Take photographs (or make sketches) of the premises or any substance or thing at the premises;

  3. Take and keep samples of any substance at the premises;

  4. Inspect any record or document kept at the premises; and/or,

  5. Remove, or make copies of, any such record or statement.

Search and seizure provisions

Under s87 of the Act, where the inspector has reasonable grounds for suspecting that there may be evidence on the premises of a breach of the Act, the inspector may:

  1. With the consent of the occupier of the premises, search the premises and seize the evidence; or

  2. Without the consent of the occupier, obtain a warrant and then search the premises and seize the evidence.

Where the inspector seizes any 'thing' under the search and seizure provisions of the Act, (a 'thing' could include samples, records and other documents), the inspector may keep the thing for up to 60 days or until the conclusion of any proceedings in which the thing may afford evidence.


Where NICNAS has determined that an offence has been committed under the Act, the relevant inspector(s) will prepare evidence briefs that are used by the Deputy Director of Prosecutions for the prosecution of the relevant person/company.