Employer Obligations

Issues such as compliance, safety in the curriculum and workplace bullying.

Please scroll to the bottom of the page for contacts and links

Do you need to comply?

Yes, under the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic).

Conditions of compliance

You must provide a safe and healthy workplace for your workers and contractors.

If you have to comply, what do you have to do?

Your employer obligations include:

  • providing and maintaining safe plant (such as machinery and equipment) and safe systems of work (such as controlling entry to high risk areas, controlling work pace and frequency and providing systems to prevent falls from heights)
  • implementing arrangements for the safe use, handling, storage and transport of chemicals (such as dangerous goods and other harmful materials)
  • maintaining the workplace in a safe condition (such as ensuring fire exits are not blocked, emergency equipment is serviceable, and the worksite is generally tidy)
  • providing workers and contractors with adequate facilities (such as clean toilets, cool and clean drinking water, and hygienic eating areas)
  • making sure workers have adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to work in a safe and healthy manner.

You must also:

  • adequately monitor your workers’ health (such as providing hearing tests for workers exposed to high noise levels, monitoring fatigue levels for relevant workers)
  • keep information and records relevant to your workers’ health and safety (such as records of biological monitoring, asbestos assessments, first aid records and relevant medical information)
  • employ or engage people with the necessary qualifications or expertise to advise you on health and safety issues affecting your workers
  • consult with employees on matters that may directly affect their health, safety or welfare. Where the employees are represented by a health and safety representative (HSR), the HSR must also be involved in the consultation
  • nominate a senior management representative (or yourself) to deal with workers and their health and safety representatives in resolving health and safety issues at the workplace
  • provide your workers with information in the appropriate languages about your workplace health and safety arrangements, including the names of those to whom the workers can make an inquiry or complaint.

Previous injuries

  • When hiring new employees you should inform them, in writing, of the nature of the work and ask if they have any pre-existing injury or illness that may be affected by the work.
  • You should also inform them, in writing, that failing to notify or hiding a pre-existing injury or illness which might be affected by the nature of the proposed employment, could result in that injury or illness being ineligible for future compensation claims.

Other health and safety obligations

You must ensure that other people (including students, contractors and visitors) are not endangered by the conduct of your school (for example, by providing protection from falling debris around construction sites, controlling traffic access to your workplace and limiting public access within your workplace).

You have additional specific obligations involving the storage, handling and use of dangerous goods.

You also have obligations to:

  • meet particular licensing, registration and certification requirements
  • immediately notify the Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) of certain dangerous incidents
  • co-operate with VWA Inspectors
  • comply with Inspectors’ Notices and Written Directions issued by VWA Victoria Inspectors.

There are also employer obligations in relation to:

  • Workplace Injury Insurance
  • Claims
  • Return to work of injured employees

(Note: Details of these last three obligations can be found on the Victorian WorkCover Authority website)

What are the consequences if you don’t comply?

The maximum penalties for breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic.) are $1,051,380* for companies and $210,276* for individuals. (*This amount is correct from 1 July 2014 and is indexed annually).

Who will help you?

Independent Schools Victoria contact:

Kerri Knopp
Director, Strategic Relations
Ph. 03 9825 7210

Documents for Download

PDFISV: Occupational Health and Safety Vital Signs Checklist (prepared by Willis Risk Management)

PDFWillis: Workers’ Compensation Guide (Members’ Area password required)

Word DocumentWillis: Workers’ Compensation Guide – Templates and Forms (Members’ Area password required)

Links and Resources

External linkVic DET: Safety, Health and Wellbeing website

External linkVictorian WorkCover Authority: OHS in Schools – A Practical Guide for School Leaders

External linkVictorian WorkCover Authority: Employer Obligations

InformationVictorian WorkCover Authority Advisory Service
Telephone (03) 9641 1444
1800 136 089 (Toll Free)
Email: info@workcover.vic.gov.au