WorkSafe Victoria’s new Infringement Notices scheme

WorkSafe Victoria’s new Infringement Notices scheme

I recently attended an information session held by WorkSafe Victoria about the new infringement notices scheme. Held via zoom, the session was very informative and professionally presented and, with approximately 2,000 viewers, it was clearly important to business.

Infringement Notices (or on-the-spot fines) commence on 31 July 2021 and will be an additional tool to existing notices, such as improvement notices, prohibition notices and non-disturbance notices.
The notices will be issued by an Inspector to relevant persons who have obligations under the OHS legislation (employers, employees and self-employed persons). Some other key points:

  • 54 offences have been prescribed and will be listed in Schedule 20
  • A notice will include a prescribed penalty, details on how to pay, the date the payment is due (at least 21 days) and how to appeal the notice
  • The penalty amount is greater for corporations than for individuals and will be noted as penalty units as with other notices
  • Other notices can be issued at the same time
  • Infringement Notices cannot be issue retrospectively

 

As the session was only for an hour, not all viewer questions could be addressed, but here is some of the additional information that came from the Q&As:

  • The dispute process, as with other notices, could be via WorkSafe internal review or through the courts
  • Money raised through the notices will go into the Workers’ Compensation scheme
  • Inspectors will not be set a number of Infringement Notices to issue - they must observe the breach and determine what notice would best serve
  • Employers are expected to consult with their employees about the introduction of these notices
  • Psychological safety is not specifically included in these notices, but employers are still required to provide a safe system of work (including welfare)
  • Infringement Notices apply to all industries
  • The amount of the fine does not increase for repeat offenders, but other actions can be taken in these circumstances
  • The Attorney General and the Department of Justice were consulted prior to releasing this scheme

 

More information, including the presentation, will be available on the WorkSafe website in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, check out what is there already:
https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/introducing-infringement-notices-workplace-safety-breaches

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