Workplace Safety Legislation and Other Matters Amendment Act 2022
Information about changes which became law on 16 March 2022.
The Workplace Safety Legislation and Matters Amendment Act 2022 (the Act) aims to prevent and better respond to workplace safety incidents, improve outcomes for injured workers and their families, and increase Worksafe's ability to enhance Victoria's workers' compensation scheme operations.
The Act makes amendments to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (AC Act), the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 (DG Act), the Equipment (Public Safety) Act 1994 (EPS Act), the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act), and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (WIRC Act) to:
- improve compensation arrangements for workers with silicosis and similar occupational diseases, and deliver on aspects of the Government's Silica Action Plan, including an extension to eligibility for family counselling services
- amend the threshold for issuing prohibition notices and giving directions, to better capture serious-risk activities
- include a broader range of matters to be notifiable incidents
- improve entitlements for families of deceased workers
- clarify that funds collected from infringement notices are paid into the WorkCover fund
- make technical amendments to the WIRC Act including changes to clarify the current process for awarding legal costs, contractor provisions and payments for injured workers living overseas
- expand the Firefighters Presumptive Rights Compensation Scheme to include Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) vehicle and equipment maintenance employees
Purpose of the changes
The changes are needed to support improvements and enhancements across WorkSafe's insurance and occupational health and safety (OHS) functions.
The disease compensation changes ensure the unique nature of certain diseases that progress rapidly and do not stabilise can be addressed. These include certain occupational diseases in response to the Victorian Government's Silica Action Plan.
Changes to the threshold for duty holders to notify WorkSafe of certain incidents and to the grounds that inspectors can issue prohibition notices and directions on, will enable improved responsiveness to risks and hazards and further enhance WorkSafe's prevention mandate.
Is WorkSafe leading all of the changes?
No, other government bodies such as Emergency Management Victoria are leading changes to the Firefighters' Presumptive Rights Compensation and Fire Services Legislation Amendment (Reform) Act 2019 (FPRC Act) to:
- extend presumptive rights coverage CFA and FRV vehicle and equipment maintenance employees
- change the method for calculating eligibility qualifying periods to count part year of service as a full year of service
- allow periods of service as an CFA, FRV or forest firefighter or as a vehicle and equipment maintenance employee to be combined
The Act also makes changes to the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 and the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014. Further information is available on the Victorian Legislation website.
The Workplace Safety Legislation and Other Matters Amendment Act 2022 and other Parliamentary documents can be found on the Victorian Legislation website.