Publications / Work Health and Safety

29 Mar 11
Employers placed on-the-spot in NSW

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The Workers Compensation Regulation 2010 (NSW) commenced on 1 February 2011 and introduced new penalty notice offence provisions applicable to NSW employers including on-the-spot-fines.

New penalty notice offences under the Workers Compensation Regulation 2010 (NSW) provide for on-the-spot fines

The Workers Compensation Regulation 2010 (NSW) (the Regulation) commenced on 1 February 2011 and introduced new penalty notice offence provisions applicable to NSW employers.

These provisions allow WorkCover to issue on-the-spot fines to employers and individuals who fail to comply with certain provisions of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) (the 1987 Act), Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (NSW) (the Act) and the Regulation.

Effect of the penalty notice offences for employers

Under the Regulations, WorkCover now has the power to issue fines of up to $500 to employers or authorised officers for their failure to comply with certain provisions.

The consequence for employers is that WorkCover no longer has to commence proceedings against them for breaching a provision. By listing certain offences as penalty notice offences, WorkCover now has the option of either commencing proceedings or issuing a penalty notice. The option pursued by WorkCover will depend on the severity of the offence.

For example, WorkCover can now issue a fine of $500 directly to an employer if they fail to keep a register of injuries under section 63(5) of the Act.

For a full list of the fines and provisions which are now considered penalty notice offences, please click here to see the attached document 'Worker’s Compensation Regulation 2010 - penalty notice offences'.

Reasons for the change

Prior to the Regulations coming into effect WorkCover’s only recourse for an employer’s non-compliance was to prosecute them for the breach.

In a regulatory impact and better regulation statement released by WorkCover NSW in June 2010, it was concluded that the deterrence effect of any penalty was undermined by the difficulty associated with enforcing it, due to the high evidentiary burden required for a successful prosecution.

Focus covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. Focus is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.

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