Employers must notify WorkSafe of COVID-19 cases

Failing to notify WorkSafe can lead to fines of up to $39,652 for an individual or $198,264 for a body corporate.

Employers are now required to notify WorkSafe immediately when they become aware a worker has received a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.

The new regulations, made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, will assist WorkSafe to reduce the risks to health and safety in the workplace arising from COVID-19.

“Timely notification of potential workplace transmission of COVID 19 is critical for effective management of related health and safety risks and the prompt investigation of potential breaches of employer duties,” WorkSafe stated.

Employers are required to notify WorkSafe immediately on becoming aware that an employee or an independent contractor or a contractor’s employee has received a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and has attended the workplace during the infectious period.

Self-employed persons are also required to directly inform WorkSafe immediately on receiving a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis if they have attended the workplace during the infectious period.

The infectious period begins on the date 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms or a confirmed diagnosis (whichever comes first), until the day on which the person receives a clearance from isolation from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Failing to notify WorkSafe under section 38 of the OHS Act can lead to fines of up to $39,652 (240 penalty units) for an individual or $198,264 (1200 penalty units) for a body corporate.

The new regulations came into force on 28 July 2020 and will remain in place for 12 months.

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