From 17 March 2022, Victorian employers have new obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHS Act). The key amendments expand the definition of a notifiable incident and make changes to prohibition notices.

Notifiable incidents

Your obligations to notify WorkSafe have expanded.

Incidents that expose a person to a serious health or safety risk arising from an immediate or imminent exposure to a hazard are now reportable to WorkSafe. Certain illnesses may also be prescribed incidents. WorkSafe is developing a list of illnesses.

Incidents relating to the collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to plant, are notifiable if the plant is prescribed. WorkSafe is developing a list of plant that it will deem to be prescribed.

“Serious risk” relates to serious potential harm (e.g. death or serious injury) and a real likelihood of the incident occurring. “Immediate” means someone was exposed to a serious risk, even if they are not injured or where an illness may later arise. “Imminent” means exposure to the risk is, or was, likely to occur at any moment.

Prohibition notices

WorkSafe inspectors can now give verbal or written directions to immediately stop dangerous activities before an incident occurs.

Dangerous activities pose a serious risk to the health and safety of a person arising from an immediate or imminent expose to a hazard.

If your business operates large-scale plant or machinery or undertakes other high-risk work, be aware of the increased chance of being issued with a prohibition notice. It is now the case that a prohibition notice will be issued where previously it may have been an improvement notice.

Contact us

Please contact us to discuss the impact of these changes on your business. We can help you if you are visited by a WorkSafe inspector, are served with a notice, or are dealing with an injured employee. We provide prompt expert advice and support to help reduce your risk. There are significant penalties under the OHS Act, so reach out so we can guide you through your obligations.

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