Today, WorkSafe Victoria has issued a stern warning to Victorian employers to “take health and safety seriously and ensure [they] meet [their] obligations” as businesses begin opening up.
Earlier this week, Self-Employed Australia called on WorkSafe to investigate the actions of the Department of Health and Human Services in relation to its response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak at East Preston Islamic College.
It is alleged that the Andrews Labor Government breached its duty under Section 23 of Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. This includes the Department’s provision of clearance to children at the centre of the outbreak, plus its appointment of separate case workers for each family member who failed to coordinate their efforts.
This recent allegation against the Andrews Labor Government of breaches of Victorian OH&S law comes off the back of allegations of OH&S breaches in connection with the Government’s disastrous Hotel Quarantine Program.
In August, WorkSafe confirmed before the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee that it is investigating a number of workplaces associated with the Hotel Quarantine Program.
Continued OH&S breaches by the Andrews Labor Government in its COVID-19 response threaten all that Victorians have achieved in defeating the second wave.
WorkSafe must urgently and thoroughly investigate all alleged breaches of OH&S law by this Labor Government and must ensure that Ministers and public servants heed its warning to employers that “…where necessary WorkSafe can and will take enforcement action.”
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Nick Wakeling:
“Daniel Andrews has increased the OH&S burdens on Victorian employers while failing to ensure his own Government meets its own standards.
“For the Andrews Labor Government, when it comes to OH&S, it is ‘one rule for me and another for thee’.
“Given the enormous consequences for the Victorian community, WorkSafe must ensure that OH&S laws are applied equally across both the public and private sectors.”