Industry News, Latest News, Victoria

Victorian Government launches new workplace safety blitz

A new advertising blitz has launched to warn employers about the tough new financial penalties and jail terms that they face if their negligence causes a workplace death.

The campaign aims to remind employers of the responsibility to ensure employees are safe at work.

There have already been five workplace deaths this year in Victoria.

Under the new workplace manslaughter laws, companies will face more than $16 million in fines and individuals responsible for a death could see jail sentences of up to 20 years.

The Victorian Government is investing $10 million towards the implementation of the new laws, including dedicated support for families following a workplace death and a specialist WorkSafe team to lead investigations and prosecutions.

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“We promised to put these laws in place and that is exactly what we have done – employers are on notice that from 1 July this year they face steep penalties if they fail to protect their workers,” Victorian Workplace Safety Minister Jill Hennessy said.

“Everyone has a right to return home safe from work, no matter what industry they work in – we’re putting more inspectors on the ground and doing more inspections than ever before.”

In 2019, WorkSafe visited 49,771 worksites and issued 14,939 health and safety compliance notices.

In total, there were nine industries that recorded at least one workplace fatality last year, with the construction industry overrepresented in the workplace fatality statistics.

“Twenty-four people died in a workplace incident in 2019, that’s 24 families, groups of friends and communities who have lost a loved one, a friend, a teammate or a colleague,” WorkSafe Chief Executive Colin Radford said.

“There are no excuses for putting workers’ lives at risk and WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute those who do.”

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