The Workplace Safety Legislation and Other Matters Amendment Bill 2021, which was introduced to parliament in December last year, has passed the Victorian parliament this week and introduces new requirements on businesses to report near misses.
In introducing the Bill the explanatory memorandum noted that, without the passing of the Bill, the duty of employers to notify WorkSafe immediately after becoming aware of a notifiable incident “does not currently capture near miss incidents” that “would have given rise to an immediate or imminent and serious risk to a person’s health or safety” if a person had been in the immediate vicinity, but was not – a serious near miss.
Before the Bill was passed the current requirement was for businesses to notify for incidents: resulting in a fatality; resulting in a person requiring immediate hospital treatment; and exposing a person “in the immediate vicinity to an immediate risk to the person’s health or safety through”, for example, the failure of plant, the collapse of an excavation or structure, a falling object, the spillage of a dangerous substance, and (for mines) the inrush of water, mud or gas.
The Bill “changes the threshold for notification from immediacy of risk and vicinity to seriousness of risk and immediacy or imminence of exposure”, the explanatory memorandum says.
“The substituted provision also more closely aligns with the dangerous incidents provisions under section 37 of the model Work Health and Safety Act,” it says.
WorkSafe inspectors have also had powers increased to issue prohibition notices and give directions regarding serious near misses.
For a copy of the Workplace Safety Legislation and Other Matters Amendment Bill 2021 see; https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/bills/workplace-safety-legislation-and-other-matters-amendment-bill-2021
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Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)