Occupational health and safety (OHS) and cleaning your sex work premises

Occupational health and safety (OHS) laws and regulations apply to all businesses, including your brothel or escort agency.

You must provide a safe environment for your sex workers, office staff and contractors as well as clients and visitors.

Steep penalties can apply for breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

OHS: what you need to know and do

You must comply with OHS laws at your workplace, regardless of whether you have employees, independent contractors, freelance or casual staff.

As a licensee, you must:

  • provide a healthy and risk-free work environment
  • ensure the physical and psychological safety of your employees, contractors and visitors, including eliminating risks whenever practicable
  • discuss and consult with all people working at your business when assessing workplace risks, or making decisions on health and safety issues affecting them
  • follow procedures relating to workplace injuries (see below).

Employees and self-employed people (such as a contractor) must also take reasonable care for their own and others’ health and safety, and cooperate with their employer’s workplace safety measures.

WorkSafe inspections

WorkSafe Victoria is the regulatory body responsible for health and safety laws in Victoria.

A WorkSafe Victoria inspector may enter your brothel during work hours to inspect, examine and ask questions. They may also enter if they reasonably believe that there is an immediate risk to the health and safety of anyone as a result of the work being carried out.

WorkSafe Victoria inspectors have the power to:

  • check whether you are complying with OHS laws
  • enforce your compliance
  • rule on unresolved or disputed OHS matters
  • advise and guide you
  • promote and discuss effective management of OHS issues
  • promote and discuss representative arrangements in your brothel.

Issues concerning sexual health and infection diseases are investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Workplace hazards

You are responsible for identifying and resolving workplace safety hazards in your brothel.

Common hazards are:

  • those which could result in slips, trips and falls
  • violence, including threats, harassment and bullying
  • fatigue.

Injuries

If an injury occurs at your brothel, you must:

You must call 000 if there is an emergency at your brothel.

Insurance

WorkSafe injury insurance covers employers for compensating employees who are injured or become ill because of their work. This includes replacement of lost income, medical and rehabilitation treatment costs, legal costs or lump sum compensation for a severe injury.

You must:

  • know your obligations
  • understand what to do if an employee claims compensation.

For more information visit the WorkSafe Victoria website, or, if you receive a workers compensation claim, call WorkSafe Victoria on 03 9641 1444.

Cleaning

Consumer Affairs Victoria inspectors may ask about the cleaning of the sex work premises.

A sex worker must not be required to clean any bath, shower, toilet or spa unless those facilities have been used by their client and adequate equipment and protective clothing are provided.

Sex workers must not be made to perform cleaning duties unless they are contracted to do so.

You must supply clean linen and towels or you could face a penalty.

Alcohol and drugs

Your sex work premises may be inspected for alcohol. You must not sell, supply, consume or permit alcohol to be supplied or consumed on the premises.

If a Consumer Affairs Victoria inspector finds drugs at a sex work premises they will notify the police.

Children

Children over 18 months must not be allowed on sex work premises.

All sex workers must be over the age of 18.

Where to next:

Last updated: 01/06/2016

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