Under new regulations issued by WorkSafe Victoria under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers are now required to notify WorkSafe immediately when they become aware that a worker has received a confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis. The regulations will help reduce the risks to health and safety in the workplace arising from COVID-19. Timely notification of potential workplace transmission of COVID-19 is critical to manage the related health and safety risks, and the prompt investigation of potential breaches of employer duties.
Employers must notify WorkSafe Victoria upon becoming aware that an employee or an independent contractor or a contractor’s employee has received a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and has attended the workplace during the infectious period. Self-employed persons must also inform WorkSafe Victoria immediately upon receiving a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis if they have attended the workplace during the infectious period.
The infectious period begins on the date 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms or a confirmed diagnosis (whichever comes first), until the day on which the person received a clearance from isolation from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Failing to notify WorkSafe Victoria can lead to fines of up to $39,652 (240 penalty units) for an individual or $198,264 (1200 penalty units) for a body corporate.
The new regulations came into force on 28 July 2020 and will remain in place for 12 months.
To notify WorkSafe Victoria, employers or self-employed persons should call the regulator’s advisory service on 13 23 60.
Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/kamonrat