Victorian WorkSafe inspectors will have the power to issue on the spot infringement notices and fines to employers who breach OHS requirements, from 31 July 2021.
Designed to strengthen WorkSafe’s enforcement and compliance capabilities and act as a deterrent, the infringement notices will have penalties of up to $1,817.40 for corporations and $363.48 for individuals.
Under the new scheme, WorkSafe inspectors can issue on the spot infringement notices as an alternative to prosecution action against the organisation or person which has committed an offence.
There are 54 prescribed offences where inspectors can issue on the spot fines including:
not holding a current construction induction card:
lack of warning devices on powered mobile plant (such as forklifts):
not having a register of hazardous substances in place:
principal contractors not having Health and Safety Coordination available for inspection;
working without a required license, registration, qualification, experience or supervision:
failing to comply with asbestos removal or storage requirements; and
failing to comply with record keeping requirements.
An appeals process is in place. If you receive an infringement notice, you can apply to it reviewed by WorkSafe’s Internal Review Unit.
By means of comparison, infringement notices were introduced in both Queensland and ACT a number of years ago. In Queensland the scheme started with a wide range of prescribed offences, but the regulator subsequently identified 10 priority areas for enforcement out of the 240 infringement notice offences.
It is important to note that employers’ health and safety obligations do not change under this new scheme – the requirement to do everything that is reasonably practical to provide a safe workplace remains.
The change does however highlight the need for all employers to regularly review their Health and Safety systems, processes and documentations to ensure that they continue to comply with all requirements. If you would like to discuss these changes or are concerned, please contact us – we’re here to help.