The Western Australian Government plans to introduce industrial manslaughter provisions to parliament this year as part of its $12.9 million investment in safety.
This legislation will include two new offences, with the most serious offence, or “industrial manslaughter class one” carrying up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
Negligent behaviour, or “industrial manslaughter class two” will attract a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.
The new offences will also carry a fine of up to $10 million for a body corporate.
This Work Health and Safety Bill is targeted to better protect workers and hold those responsible for any workplace deaths, according to the Western Australian Government.
“Prison time sends a powerful message, but we don’t want it to come to that,” WA Premier Mark McGowan said.
“We would much rather everyone came home safe from work, and that’s why we are boosting the number of safety inspectors, to put more cops on the beat.”
The state government will add 24 full-time equivalent staff, including 21 additional inspectors to WorkSafe, bringing the total number of inspectors to 120 to conduct more safety inspections.
“The boost in the number of WorkSafe inspectors will bring Western Australia in line with similar jurisdictions including New South Wales and Queensland, and provide better support in workplace investigations and inspections,” McGowan said.
“Our work health and safety laws haven’t been updated since 1984 and are long overdue for change,” Western Australian Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston added.
“The coming week will see the release of the consultation material for the regulations package covering general industry, mining industry, and the petroleum sector. This is an important next step in moving the implementation of this reform measure forward promptly.”
These initiatives flowed from significant public concern and recommendations of two recent federal reviews.