The amendments also make the offences of failing to notify, and preserve the scene, indictable. The maximum fines for these offences will be $38,057 for individuals and $190,284 for companies.
A reasonable excuse defence has been inserted. Master Builders will ask WorkSafe to produce guidance that clarifies ‘reasonable excuse’.
WorkSafe has already prosecuted seven times in 2017 for the offences of failing to notify and preserve the scene. Master Builders has called regularly on WorkSafe to tell employers about the duties as there is very little awareness of the duty within the building community.
This amendment will increase WorkSafe’s evidence-gathering ability following serious workplace accidents.
Incidents that require immediate notification to WorkSafe include those in which an incident at a workplace or equipment site results in:
- Medical treatment within 48 hours following exposure to a substance
- Immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital
- Immediate treatment for amputation, serious head injury, serious eye injury, separation of skin from underlying tissue e.g. de-gloving or scalping, electric shock, spinal injury, loss of bodily function, including loss of consciousness, serious laceration.
Situations that seriously endanger the health and safety of people in the immediate vicinity also require WorkSafe notification. Such dangerous occurrences include:
- Collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, certain items of plant, e.g. collapse of a crane
- Collapse of part of a building or structure
- Implosion, explosion or fire
- Escape, spillage or leakage of substances detailed under the Dangerous Goods Act 1985
- Objects or substances falling from a height.
The contact number to notify WorkSafe of a serious incident is 132 360.
The Master Builders OHS Unit regularly suggests to members at member nights and section meetings that if they should ever experience a serious workplace accident in their workplace that they should contact the OHS Unit as soon as possible.
The contact number for the OHS Unit is (03) 9411 4569.
Credit: Master Builders Association of Victoria (25/09/17)