SafeWork to issue new on-the-spot fines for WHS breaches
New regulations will allow SafeWork NSW to issue on-the-spot fines for existing electrical work and asbestos offences through an amendment to the Work Health and Safety Regulation.
Head of SafeWork NSW, Natasha Mann said the amendments will allow SafeWork inspectors to issue penalty notices for work near overhead wires with fines of $3,600 for corporations and $720 for individuals.
“In the past two and half years, SafeWork NSW has responded to more than 1000 workplace incidents involving workers coming into contact with electricity, two of which resulted in fatalities,” Ms Mann said.
“The most common risks associated with electrical work include contact with overhead powerlines, underground services and unsafe wiring that includes temporary wiring, installations and electrical equipment.”
Electrical incidents can also result in power outages, fires, damage to infrastructure, businesses and even road closures.
“We’re urging businesses and workers undertaking electrical work to shut off mains power supply when working near electricity and under no circumstance should electrical work be done without holding a licence to do so,” Ms Mann said.
“We’re also strengthening penalties to provide greater deterrents to existing offences relating to asbestos removal work in response to reoffenders within the asbestos and demolition industry.
“The new on the spot penalties will provide SafeWork NSW inspectors an additional compliance tool to take immediate action when they observe workers and businesses engaging in highly unsafe activities onsite.
“We will continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to workers’ lives being placed at risk,” Ms Mann said.
The proposed penalty notice offences are existing offences under the WHS Regulation, meaning businesses in NSW should already be complying, and can already be prosecuted if they do not comply.
The new penalty notices come ahead of planned compliance campaigns on electrical safety in the construction industry this month and in February 2023 and will align with National Asbestos Awareness Week from 21 to 27 November.
For more information visit the SafeWork NSW website.