On the spot fines for work health and safety non-compliance

In Queensland, work health and safety legislation is administered by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, referred to as the Regulator. The inspectorate is responsible for providing information and advice about work health and safety compliance, and monitor and enforce compliance by directing compliance, imposing a sanction, or both.

Sanctions for non-compliance may include infringement notices, licence suspension, enforceable undertaking (EU) or prosecution.  Infringement notices are on-the-spot fines that can be incurred by the business or the worker.  The on-the-spot fines may be issued by an inspector if they believe, on reasonable grounds, that a person is committing or has committed an infringement notice offence under the legislation. 

Workplace Health and Safety recently published their Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Policy (December 2018).  The policy provides information on how the regulator goes about monitoring and enforcing work health and safety compliance.  The document includes information about on-the-spot fines.

There are currently 240 infringement notice offences for breaches of the WHS and Electrical Safety legislation.  Examples of offences which can be issued with a fine include (but not limited to):

  • failure to comply with an improvement notice
  • failure to record a notifiable incident (for example a work-caused serious injury or illness)
  • allowing persons to carry out high risk work without seeing written evidence that the worker has the relevant high-risk work licence
  • failure to allow health and safety representative to exercise his/her powers or functions
  • failure to use/wear personal protective equipment (PPE) provided by PCBU in accordance with information, training or reasonable instruction given by PCBU (fine issued to worker)
  • failure to test electrical work
  • failure to ensure electrical equipment was de-energised before carrying out electrical work.

It is recommended that all retailers are aware of their work health and safety obligations and ensure they have adequate health and safety systems in place to avoid sanctions from the regulator.

If you require specific support in the development or review of a work health and safety management system, please contact Australian Retailers Association on 1300 368 041

* Further details regarding the outcomes of the survey can be viewed on the SDA website www.sda.org.au