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ALERT: Priority infringement notice offences (on-the-spot fines) applicable

While we may all be aware of our WHS compliance requirements and have the necessary policies and procedures in place to effectively manage our WHS obligations, did you know SafeWork can issue on the spot fines for any breach of workplace health and safety – even minor infractions?

The NSW Government made new WHS penalty notice offences through the WHS Amendment (Penalty Notices) Regulation 2017 which can attract on-the-spot fines of $720 for individuals and $3,600 for a corporation.

Penalties may be issued for offences relating to carrying out work (or directing or allowing a worker to carry out work) when it is not authorised in accordance with the regulations under the WHS Act 2011, such as carrying out high-risk work without a licence or for example: relating to the management of risk of falls and fall-related emergency procedures.

The new penalty notice offences commenced 1 November 2017 but more severe court sanctions of up to $100,000 for s43 breaches and $30,000 for fall-management breaches still apply. (SafeWork NSW).

In Queensland, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland uses regulatory enforcement measures, including infringement notices (on-the-spot fines), to ensure duty holders are meeting their legislative duties to keep people safe from harm.

There are 240 infringement notice offences for contraventions of work health and safety and electrical safety legislation. Fines range from $144 to $720 for individuals, and $720 to $3,600 for a business.

Priority areas are selected periodically for enforcement and will receive additional attention but it is wise to remember inspectors may issue an infringement notice for any infringement notice offence at any time.

Here is some information about offences which are priorities for inspectors in Queensland:

  1. Non-compliance with an improvement notice
    • The person must comply within the period stated on the notice – WHS Act s193.
    • The person must comply within the period stated on the notice – ES Act s146B.
  2. Incident notification and reporting
    • PCBU must keep record of each notifiable incident for five years after notification – WHS Act s38(7).
    • PCBU must keep a record of each serious electrical incident or dangerous electrical event for at least five years after notification – ES Reg s265(6).
  3. Consultation with workers
    • PCBU must allow adequate time for health and safety representatives to exercise powers/functions – WHS Act s70(2).
  4. Safety management – construction projects
    • Safe work method statements (high risk construction work) – WHS Reg s299(1); s300(1); s300(2); s301; s302; s303(3); s312.
    • WHS management plan must be accessible – WHS Reg s313(3).
    • Provision of hygienic, safe and serviceable amenities – WHS Reg s315A(2).
  5. Construction work
    • Trenching/excavation – WHS Reg s304(3); s304(5); s306(1).
    • Fall arrest system as control measure – WHS Reg s306I(7).
    • Ladder safety – WHS Reg s306K(2); s306L(3); s306O(5).
    • Scaffolding – WHS Reg s306P(2); s306Q(2).
    • Falling objects – WHS Reg s315F(3); s315G(3); s315L(3).
    • General construction induction training – WHS Reg s316.
  6. General workplace management
    • Air monitoring for airborne contaminants – WHS Reg s50(1).
  7. Specific hazardous work
    • Overhead or underground electric line (safe distance) – ES Reg s68(1); s68(2).
    • Confined spaces – WHS Reg s66(2); s69.
    • General diving work competency – WHS Reg s175(1).\
    • Hazardous chemicals register – WHS Reg s346(1); s346(3).
    • Asbestos management – WHS Reg s425(1); s449; s419(1); s446(1); s446(3).
  8. Licensed high-risk work
    • Written evidence of licence, training, application or certification – WHS Reg s85(1); s85(2); s85(3).
  9. Electrical work
    • Electrical work – ES Reg 14; 15(1); 26(2); 31(1); 32(1).
    • Electrical installations – ES Reg 70; 71; 85(2).
    • Electrical supply – ES Reg 221(1); 221(2); 227(1).
  10. Electrical licences

    • Unlicensed electrical work – ES Act 55(1); 56(1); 57(1).

Further information is at: worksafe.qld.gov.au


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