The West Australian Government will increase penalties for workplace safety offences, which will bring the West into line with other states and ensure penalties better reflect the importance of a safe workplace.
According to the government the amendments will increase penalties for businesses, which commit safety offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984 (OSH Act) for the first time since 2004.
The new penalties will be consistent with the national model Work Health and Safety Act (Model Act), with a further increase for inflation (1.14%) from 2010. This will also include harsher penalties for offenders including an increase of the maximum term of imprisonment from two to five years.
First offence fines for body corporate offenders will also drastically increase, Level 4 first time offences will increase from $500,000 to more than $2.7 million. Level 1 penalty will increase from $50,000 to $456,000.
"Penalties for workplace safety offences haven't changed for 13 years. The substantial increases reflect the seriousness of ensuring the safety of Western Australian workers,” Said Premier McGowan.
"The government is committed to improving workplace health and safety laws to ensure all workers return home safely from work."
Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said the changes to penalty levels would take place ahead of the introduction of the Government's Work Health and Safety Bill, are expected to be introduced into State Parliament by mid-2019.
"The new penalties will provide an incentive to comply with workplace safety laws and ensure penalties meet community expectations,” said Johnstone.
With the exception of WA and Victoria, other Australian jurisdictions have adopted the Model Act and, as a result, penalty levels in WA's OSH Act are significantly less than those applying in many other jurisdictions.
Image sourced from Flickr cc: Pascal Subtil