Written by Murray Kellock and Bridget Sheahan.
Under new regulations made in Victoria, employers and self-employed persons are guilty of a criminal offence if they fail to immediately notify WorkSafe of any employees, independent contractors (or their employees) who have:
- received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis; and
- attended the workplace during the "infectious period".
On 28 July 2020, the Governor of Victoria made the Occupational Health and Safety (COVID-19 Incident Notification) Regulation 2020 (Regulation). This has the effect of making confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the workplace a "notifiable incident" under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (the Act).
Employers and self-employed persons must:
- immediately notify WorkSafe upon becoming aware of an incident;
- provide written notification to WorkSafe via the Incident Notification Form within 48 hours of being required to notify WorkSafe; and
- ensure that the workplace (or the part of it) that the person attended is not disturbed until a WorkSafe Inspector arrives or directs otherwise, other than for the purpose of:
- protecting the health and safety of a person;
- taking essential action to make the site safe; or
- to prevent a further occurrence of an incident.
The obligations remain in force until 27 July 2021.
Defining the "infectious period"
For the purposes of the Regulations, the "infectious period" starts 14 days prior to the earlier of:
- the onset of symptoms consistent with COVID-19; or
- a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.
The period ends when the person receives clearance from isolation from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
Please reach out to your KWM contact if you would like further advice.