Frequently Asked Questions


We Answer Most Common Health & Safety Questions

Must our organization have a health and safety management system in place?

The adaptation and implementation of a range of effective Occupational and Work, Health and Safety Management actions by an organization would demonstrate that they are systematically controlling risks to all persons affected by the organization’s activities in a systematic manner and can contribute to a myriad of  beneficial outcomes for all stakeholders.

What are the penalties if an organization fails to comply with health and safety laws?

If an organization is found to have breached Health and Safety laws there can be a range of consequences, including improvement or prohibition notices from inspectors, prosecutions, on the spot fines, heavy fines, jail terms and enforceable undertakings and imprisonment.

Courts can impose adverse publicity orders, health and safety undertakings, or orders to undertake improvement projects. It is an offence to contravene an enforceable undertaking.

Can I an employer be jailed for committing a health and safety breach?

Yes employers can be jailed for committing health and safety offences under the legislation, Persons other than an employee who holds duties under Part 3 of the OHS Act and their officers could face up to 20 years jail for negligent offence under Victoria’s new workplace health and safety laws.

Must we have health and safety representatives?

No, there is no legal requirement to have a Health and Safety Representative for the workplace it only applies if the workplace has a designated work group (s).

Yes, Health and Safety Representatives must be elected by members of the designated work group (s), OHS Act 2004, Part 7—Representation of Employee, Division 1, Division 43, Division 4, Division 54.

Must we have a health and safety committee?

No, under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 [Section 72(1)], an employer must establish a committee within 3 months of a health and safety representative requesting it, OR if required to by regulation.  However, as there is currently NO regulation on committees, it is very important that reps put in a request to their employer if there is no proper committee at the workplace.

When do I need to report an incident to the authority?

An employer must within 48 hours after being required to notify the Authority, the employer or self-employed person must also give the Authority a written record of the incident, in the form approved in writing by the Authority.

What types of incidents must we report to the authority (WorkSafe Vic)

An employer or self-employed person must notify the Authority immediately after becoming aware that an incident has occurred at a workplace under the management and control of the employer or self-employed person.

This Part applies to an incident that results in—

(a)       the death of a person; or

(b)       a person requiring medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance; or

(c)       a person requiring immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital; or

(d)       a person requiring immediate medical treatment for—

(i)        the amputation of any part of his or her body; or

(ii)       a serious head injury; or

(iii)      a serious eye injury; or

(iv)      the separation of his or her skin from an underlying tissue (such as de-gloving or scalping); or

(v)       electric shock; or

(vi)      a spinal injury; or

(vii)     the loss of a bodily function; or

(viii)    serious lacerations; or

(e)       any other injury to a person or other consequence prescribed by the regulations.

This Part also applies to an incident that exposes a person in the immediate vicinity to an immediate risk to the person’s health or safety through—the collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that the regulations prescribe must not be used unless the plant is licensed or registered; or

(b)   the collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation; or

(c)   the collapse or partial collapse of all or part of a building or structure; or

(d)          an implosion, explosion or fire; or

(e)          the escape, spillage or leakage of any substance including dangerous goods (within the meaning of the Dangerous Goods Act 1985); or

(f)   the fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or object, OHS Act, Section 37 – Duties relating to Incidents

If we work at other premises do we need to do a risk assessment for our employees?

Yes It is recommended that site specific risks and hazards be identified.

General; – An organization must establish, implement and keep records of procedures that detail the following:

  1. A) Hazard identification
  2. B) Hazard and risk assessments
  3. C) The controls of hazards and risks
  4. D) The review and outcomes of A – C

Do we need to consult with our employees?

Yes, Consultation is essential when gathering information on all potential hazards, the associated risks and ways in which to eliminate or minimise those risks.
Effective consultation will engage all persons in the workplace and can be utilized to increase understanding, awareness and commitment to health and safety in the workplace.

Do I need to train my employees?

An organization is to consult with its stakeholders in identifying gaps in its employees training shortfalls and take the necessary steps to bring employees up to current standards e.g. WHS / OHS Training, Inductions, First Aid, Warden Theory and Practical Fire Training, Competency and Licensing. Policies and procedures must be developed to ensure that competencies are in place and maintained.

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