The Government of Western Australia has made public that tougher penalties for WA workplace safety offences have come into effect this week.
The new laws increase penalties for workplace safety offences under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994.
According to the announcement this afternoon, harsher penalties for offenders include increasing the maximum term of imprisonment from two years to five years, and increased fines for body corporates:
- Level 4 offences now attract a maximum $2.7 million penalty for first offenders and $3.5 million for subsequent offenders (up from $500,000 and $625,000 respectively)
- Level 1 penalties have increased from $50,000 to $450,000 for first offenders and from $62,500 to $570,000 for subsequent offences.
According to WorkSafe WA, two employees are injured every hour seriously enough to take one or more days/shifts off work and on average one person is fatally injured at a workplace every 22 days. The tougher penalties also coincide with October being National Safe Work Month, a time to reflect on building a safer and healthier workplace for all Australians, no matter what industry.
Premier Mark McGowan said he was pleased the new laws have come into effect.
“The significant increases reflect the seriousness of ensuring the safety of Western Australian workers,” Mr McGowan said, “all workers have the right to return home safely from work, and my Government is committed to improving workplace health and safety laws.”
Acting Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Francis Logan also welcomed the news.
“I’m confident the new penalties will meet community expectations and improve safety in the Western Australian workplace,” he commented.
Mr Logan also explained that the WA Government is also working on modernising other workplace health and safety laws, expected to be introduced to State Parliament next year.
The full announcement can be found here.