News Article



OHS Act Amendments Come Into Operation

Amendments introduced under the WorkSafe Legislation Amendment Act 2017 passed by the Victorian Parliament in September have now come into operation.

Key changes include:

  • Inspectors can require a person at a workplace to answer any question subject to OHS Act protections for self-incrimination and legal professional privilege;
  • An offence has been created for an employer to discriminate against a person for raising a health and safety issue directly with WorkSafe (this is in addition to existing protections under the Act);
  • Penalties for failing to notify WorkSafe of "notifiable incidents" has increased for individuals ($9,514.20 to $38,056.80) and companies ($47,571 to $190,284) indexed each year on 1 July;
  • It is now an offence to contravene an "enforceable undertaking" Penalties for individuals is $79,285 and companies $396,425 (indexed each year on 1 July);
  • Service of PINs (Provisional Improvement Notices) is now permitted by email;
  • Prosecutions for breaches of the OHS Act can be commenced outside the two-year time limit i.e. where new evidence has been discovered.  In addition proceedings can be commenced within one year of a Coronial report, inquiry or inquest;

These changes should be reflected in organisational protocols and communicated across the workforces. Specifically, protocols should set out requirements for incident notification, site preservation and incident management.