WorkSafe commissioned a review into the notification of refusal to issue a compliance certificate process.

The review was undertaken following concerns raised regarding the regulations for hazardous substances and allegations on the performance of compliance certifiers and WorkSafe and was carried out by barrister Tim Smith. 

Compliance certifiers are private businesses or individuals that work with other businesses or individuals around hazardous substances management, to ensure that the requirements set out in the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 are met. They are authorised by WorkSafe to issue compliance certification activity based on their skills and experience, and their work is audited by WorkSafe according to our audit policy and compliance certifier performance standards. 

The review identified that some certifiers may not be reporting non-compliance as required, and identified opportunities for the regulator to ensure appropriate action and oversight. A total of 19 recommendations were made including more guidance to certifiers on when notifications should be made, and how Refusals should be recorded, prioritised and actioned for follow-up by WorkSafe.   

WorkSafe accepts the findings and recommendations of the review and acknowledges there are gaps in the notification of refusal process. The review’s findings help WorkSafe pinpoint and address these. 

WorkSafe is planning on progressively implementing the recommendations through existing work programmes and one-off actions. We will work closely with stakeholders on the improvements and will keep them and the wider sector informed as these are carried out. 

Independent review – Notification of refusal to issue a compliance certificate (PDF 4.4 MB)

Notification of refusal to issue a compliance certificate

In response to the independent review, WorkSafe will publish anonymised data for notifications of refusal to issue a compliance certificate under regulation 6.23(2) of the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017.

WorkSafe received the following numbers of notifications in the timeframes shown:


Number of authorised compliance certifiers

Total number of compliance certificates issued

Total number of refusals to issue a compliance certificate


1 April 2022 – 31 December 2022





1 January 2023 - 30 June 2023





1 July 2023 - 30 September 2023