Report claims SMEs will face multi-billion dollar cost of moving to new workplace safety laws

The Federal Government’s workplace safety reforms will impose a multi-billion dollar cost on business with an overwhelming impact on small business, according to a report commissioned by the Victorian Government.

An independent analysis of the planned harmonised national workplace safety framework has estimated it will cost business $3.44 billion in Victoria over five years, with transition costs of well above $800 million.

The PwC report says that small business will incur 78% of transition costs and 74% of ongoing costs.

SMEs are most exposed to further costs because the report argues they lack the flexibility and capacity to adjust to big changes.

The report found that key issues in implementing the reforms will be the redefining of hazardous confined spaces, changes to liability provisions and redefining what constitutes a worker. 

Victoria is the key state which is holding back on the reforms, having previously stated that it would not introduce laws until the assessment was finished.

The report found that in order to break even, Victoria would need to avoid 8.7% of work-place illnesses, injuries and death.

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