Vic introduces on-the-spot fines for OHS breaches

Tuesday, 13 July, 2021

Vic introduces on-the-spot fines for OHS breaches

Employers who endanger the health and safety of their workers will face on-the-spot fines, to eradicate bad behaviour and help ensure that every worker gets home safely. From 20 July 2021, WorkSafe Victoria inspectors will be able to issue infringement notices with penalties of up to $1817.40 for certain offences, such as working without a required licence, registration, qualification, experience or supervision, or the use of equipment or substances that are not licensed or registered. Infringements will also be applied to individuals or businesses that are failing to meet duties relating to the removal and storage of asbestos and failing to keep required records.

The infringement notice scheme will strengthen WorkSafe Victoria’s compliance and enforcement capability and act as an additional deterrent for employers who do not take the safety of their workers seriously. WorkSafe Victoria and its inspectors will continue to provide guidance and information; issue improvement, non-disturbance and prohibition notices; and prosecute safety breaches where appropriate. Under the infringement notice scheme, the obligations of employers do not change; duty holders must continue to do everything that is reasonably practicable to provide a workplace that is free from risks to health and safety. The introduction of on-the-spot fines provides an immediate alternative to prosecution for those employers who do the wrong thing.

“Adding on-the-spot fines to the range of compliance tools available to WorkSafe will provide a clear message to employers that putting their workers at risk will not be tolerated. This is about making sure every worker gets home safely — and making sure those who are doing the wrong thing face the consequences,” said Minister for Workplace Safety Ingrid Stitt.

WorkSafe Victoria will continue to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute breaches of the OHS Act in the courts, as part of its compliance and enforcement approach. Fines will vary depending on the nature of the offence, ranging from $363.48 for an individual and between $1090.44 and $1817.40 for a corporation. All fines will be processed through Fines Victoria with funds received from infringement notices to be allocated back to the WorkSafe scheme.

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