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Introducing infringement notices!

Posted by Richard Forster on 7 September 2021

As Victoria's health and safety regulator, WorkSafe is responsible for ensuring that duty holders comply with their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations).

The Victorian Government made an election commitment to introduce infringement notices for certain offences under the OHS Act and OHS Regulations.

The scheme will expand the suite of compliance and enforcement tools that are already available to WorkSafe. This currently includes the following:

  • providing information and guidance;
  • issuing improvement notices, prohibition notices and directions to remedy contraventions and risks to health and safety;
  • seeking injunctions for non-compliance with notices;
  • prosecution for contraventions of occupational health and safety laws;
  • issuing letters of warning and letters of caution; and
  • accepting enforceable undertakings in connection with alleged contraventions of occupational health and safety laws.

It will also strengthen WorkSafe's compliance and enforcement capability and act as an additional deterrent to non-compliance.

Importantly, for duty holders, if you are already complying with your occupational health and safety duties, you won't need to do anything differently. The scheme is an additional enforcement tool for WorkSafe.

From 31 July 2021, WorkSafe inspectors will be able to issue infringement notices to duty holders who are alleged to have committed any of the prescribed offences in the regulations.

Infringement notices

An infringement notice is a fine given by a WorkSafe inspector to a person who has committed an infringement offence (as prescribed under the new Schedule 20 of the OHS Regulations from 31 July 2021). The notice requires the person to pay a fixed penalty.

An infringement notice will include information about:

  • the alleged offence;
  • how much is owed;
  • options for resolving an infringement, including options to pay the infringement penalty, requesting a review of the infringement notice, or electing to have the infringement offence heard and determined in Court; and
  • the payment due date which will give you at least 21 days to pay from the date the notice is served.

What offences can an infringement notice be issued for?

An infringement notice can be issued for an infringement offence as an alternative to prosecution.

There are 54 offences under the OHS Act and Regulations that are prescribed as infringement offences.

In summary, the offences relate to:

  • undertaking work without a required licence, registration, qualification, experience or supervision
  • using plant that is not licensed or registered as required
  • failing to meet various duties relating to the removal and storage of asbestos
  • failure to keep various required records
  • failure to provide HSRs with certain information

What is the penalty for an infringement notice?

While the duties remain unchanged, breaches of offences that are infringement offences can now be met with an immediate penalty.

The amount of the fine will vary depending on the nature of the offence – up to $1817.40 for a corporation and up to $363.48 for an individual.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author:Richard Forster

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