29 JulWorksafe Vic advises large fines now applicable for employers not reporting COVID-19 cases

Posted on 29 Jul 2020

Worksafe Victoria have now issued advice regarding the commencement of temporary Occupational Health and Safety (COVID-19 Incident Notification) Regulations 2020 (OHS COVID-19 Regulations) which commenced on Tuesday 28 July 2020.

Previously, employers were not required to notify WorkSafe Victoria (WorkSafe) of an infectious disease in the workplace, unless immediate inpatient treatment is required or the disease is the cause (or suspected cause) of a death.

In the current Victorian state of emergency and pandemic situation, Worksafe have advised that timely notification of potential workplace transmission of COVID‑19 is critical for efficient and effective management of related health and safety risks, and the prompt investigation of potential breaches of employer duties.

The OHS COVID-19 Regulations will now extend the operation of Part 5 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) to require duty holders to notify WorkSafe if:

  • an employer becomes aware that an employee or independent contractor engaged by the employer, and any employees of the independent contractor, has received a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and has attended the workplace within the infectious period (being 14 days prior to receiving the confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and until clearance from isolation has been received); or
  • a self-employed person has received a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and has attended the workplace within the infectious period (being 14 days prior to receiving the confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and until clearance from isolation has been received).

A penalty will apply for failing to notify WorkSafe under section 38 of the OHS Act – up to $39,652 (240 penalty units) for an individual or $198,264 (1200 penalty units) for a body corporate.

The OHS COVID-19 Regulations are temporary in nature and will expire 12 months after their making. WorkSafe will review the proposed OHS COVID-19 Regulations during the 12-month period of operation.

Further information can be found HERE

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