With WorkSafe inspectors now out in force and with every WorkSafe inspection now including assessment of social distancing, good hygiene practices, and a COVID-safe work plan, Victorian employers need to ensure that in addition to the usual safety obligations, the workplace is COVID safe.
As many businesses have been closed for some months, it is important for employers to review their safety policies and procedures to ensure that they are current and fit for purpose given the changes in the new COVID environment.
WorkSafe inspectors have made more than 15,000 workplace visits and enquiries to ensure COVID-19 compliance and issued more than 460 notices for COVID-19 related health and safety failures.
Failures have included:-
- Not working from home where possible;
- Inadequate personal protective equipment;
- Failing to enforce social distancing;
- Poor hygiene controls;
- Lack of health screening;
- Lack of procedures when an employee tests positive.
There are a variety of penalties available to courts for employers who fail to keep their employees and/or the public safe. These include up to 25 years imprisonment for individuals and up to $16.5 million in fines for body corporates.
It is imperative that employers take the necessary time and make thorough plans to ensure:-
- Appropriate COVID-safe plans are created and implemented
- Risk assessments of the workplace are conducted and risks removed or minimised
- All employees are trained and are aware of their obligations of working within a COVID-safe workplace
- Relevant supervision to ensure employees continue to adhere to the new work practices
For assistance with your reopening responsibilities, contact us at [email protected] or 1300 720 004.
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