New regulations that have been put into effect by the state government mean that employers must now notify WorkSafe immediately upon learning of any COVID-19 cases in their organisation. As Melbourne battles an increasing number of Coronavirus cases, businesses are faced with tighter restrictions in order to maintain public health and safety. These new regulations aim to ensure that the risk of transmission is minimised and that contact tracing can effectively and efficiently operate.
The new regulations are enforced under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Failure to notify WorkSafe of any positive COVID-19 cases will carry a fine of up to $36,635 (240 penalty units) for an individual or $198,264 (1,200 penalty units) for a body corporate.
New WorkSafe Regulations
Under the new system, employers will be required to notify WorkSafe if any of the parties below receive a confirmed test result and have attended work whilst; a) infected, or b) in the infectious period (of 14 days) prior to the onset of symptoms or when they received the positive test result (whichever comes first). The parties mandating notification should they receive a positive result are:
- Independent contractors
- Contractor’s employees
- Self-employed persons
All employers have a duty of care to their employees and it is in the best interests of the public health system to promptly inform of any known cases. These regulations were been made effective on 28 July 2020 for a period of 12 months.
Should there be a need to notify authorities about a positive diagnosis, employers or self-employed persons can call WorkSafe on 13 23 60. Needless to say, urgency in this matter is crucial and failure to report leaves an individual or organisation open to a significant penalty.
If you are seeking further information about the new COVID-19 WorkSafe regulations and your organisation’s obligations, contact Morrows Human Resources Advisory.