Property Owners face million-dollar fines

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Property Owners face million-dollar fines

The Work Health & Safety Act 2011 came into force at the beginning of the year in South Australia and Tasmania, following in the footsteps of NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory and ACT.  It is likely to be introduced in Western Australia before the end of next year, but despite its almost nationwide implementation, it is thought that few businesses understand its implications.

Under the new law, commercial property is considered a workplace and the commercial property owner is a person who is conducting business or involved in the management of the workplace. 

Both the real estate property manager and the owner have a duty to ensure the workplace is safe including completing a WHS audit and an essential annual safety measures report.

The new Laws have significant implications for property owners and managers. Building Owners may not be aware of the new obligations which have implications for their Insurance Cover.

The law means individuals and/or directors and officers are potentially liable for any breach should they engage in conduct that exposes an individual to the risk of death of serious injury or illness. The company could be forced to pay up to $3m and individuals up to $600,000 and sentenced to five years in jail.

Failure to comply where a person is exposed to risk of death or serious injury can result in a corporation paying up to $150,000 and $300,000 for individuals.

Companies that fail to comply when a duty, whether or not an individual is exposed to a hazard of risk, will be slapped with a fine of up to $500,000 while individuals risk paying $100,000.

Commercial Property Owners need to ensure their Property Managers have adequate Professional Indemnity Insurance and if properties are Self-Managed ensure they comply and their commercial properties have completed WHS safety audits and annual Essential Safety Measure Reports.

Action Plan :

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