WorkSafe Victoria has introduced temporary Occupational Health and Safety (COVID-19 Incident Notification) Regulations 2020 (OHS COVID-19 Regulations) which commenced today - Tuesday 28 July, 2020.
Previously, employers were not required to notify 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.
However, this state of emergency and pandemic situation means 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 new temporary regulations require that WorkSafe is notified 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 in 12 months. WorkSafe will review these regulations during the 12-month period of operation.
How to notify WorkSafe Victoria: You can complete the online form or call 13 23 60.
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