After a 14-week training course, WorkSafe Victoria’s latest group of inspector and investigator graduates have began the task of keeping Victorian workers safe.
The 22 graduates, made up of 18 inspectors and four investigators, come from a variety of backgrounds including health care, construction, motor sport, government and major hazards facilities, with seven of the 22 being women.
The new recruits will be based in Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, Shepparton and Wangaratta, and will join an inspectorate that WorkSafe Victoria says makes more than 40,000 visits to workplaces across the state each year, targeting unsafe activities, providing practical guidance on hazard identification and risk control, promoting consultation between employers and workers on health and safety matters, and enforcing occupational health and safety laws.
Worksafe Victoria says if a business is found to have breached the 2004 OHS Act, it may face prosecution and heavy fines. In 2016/17, a total of 70 businesses were found guilty of breaching workplace laws and ordered to pay fines and costs totalling almost $4 million.
According to the Minister for Finance Robin Scott the inspectors and investigators played a crucial role in keeping Victorian workers safe.
"The inspectorate is at the forefront of ensuring employers prioritise safety and do everything they can to prevent a serious injury or fatality in their workplace," Scott said.
"That is why the Government is committed to ensuring WorkSafe has the resources it needs to help Victorian workers return home safely every day."
WorkSafe chief executive Clare Amies said the new graduates came from a range of industries and would bring a broad range of expertise to their new roles.
"It's pleasing to see such diversity in the backgrounds of our latest recruits, particularly as WorkSafe embraces the challenges that arise from an ever-changing workforce," Amies said.
"While the number of workplaces in Victoria continues to grow, it is pleasing that the number of workplace injuries continues to decline. However, there is always more that all of us can do to improve health and safety in Victoria.
"Our new graduates will join an inspectorate committed to educating employers about their duties, enforcing OHS laws and prosecuting those who do the wrong thing."
Image sourced from Flickr cc: Ruth Hartnup