Health and safety update for Biosecurity Inspection Officers

Sustained action by CPSU members and HSRs in the Department of Agriculture has already secured an agreement to implement new national Safe Work practices and to purchase hazardous chemical detection equipment for Biosecurity Inspection Officers.

We are now pleased to report that CPSU delegates and HSRs are close to concluding the Safety Systems review after working with both the Department and an independent industry expert.

More information on the outcomes of this review will be provided to members soon, but in the meantime we are anticipating the following improvements for Biosecurity Inspection Officers:

  • New Sulfuryl Fluoride detection equipment
  • All information will be provided to officers on the hazardous chemicals and treatments used on containers and deconsolidated goods, prior to going into the field to conduct inspection 
  • Adequate administrative time will be scheduled for officers to review documentation
  • Clear direction to not undertake an inspection where documentation on chemical treatments is not available for that container or respective deconsolidated goods
  • Easy to follow Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) to carry out inspections safely
  • Updated incident reporting guidelines to report all near misses or incidents. 

Important advice for All CPSU members conducting inspections

Safe Work procedures for inspectors have been clarified following meetings with the Department, and you must follow these departmental work instructions:

  1. Must print and review documentation that identifies the fumigation treatment used and the hazardous chemicals present in container or deconsolidated goods they are to inspect.
  2. Adequate time must be scheduled for inspectors to complete (1) prior to entering the field to conduct inspections. 
  3. If (1) and (2) does not happen - Inspectors must not proceed into field to conduct inspection.
  4. ‘Incident Reports’ must be completed by inspectors every time they do not proceed with an inspection per (3). Failures of Safe Work practice (1) and (2) is a near miss incident.

All CPSU members, please report if your site is complying with these Safe Work instructions by emailing

The CPSU Safety team can then help solve problems and protect the safety of our members.