Late yesterday (28 July) the Victorian Government introduced the new Occupational Health and Safety (COVID-19 Incident Notification) Regulations 2020, which extends the incident notification obligation of duty holders in Victoria pursuant to Part 5 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act).
This means that for the next 12 months (at least) employers and self-employed persons in Victoria that have management or control of a workplace are obliged to immediately 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.
Previously, duty holders were not required to notify WorkSafe Victoria (WorkSafe) of an infectious disease in the workplace, unless immediate inpatient treatment was required or the disease was the cause (or suspected cause) of a death.
Obviously, this new incident notification duty is critically important to our clients with operations in Victoria.
Whilst many employers and self-employed persons in Victoria have already been asking employees and contractors who attend their workplaces to advise of confirmed COVID-19 cases, these regulations now make such enquiries mandatory.
More information on how to report a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis can be found here.
Please contact us for advice in relation to your notification obligations.
Our team is actively monitoring and considering the implications of legal and regulatory developments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find our COVID-19 collection here.
All information on this site is of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon as, nor to be a substitute for, specific legal professional advice. No responsibility for the loss occasioned to any person acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material published can be accepted.