Industrial manslaughter laws will be introduced nationally through the formal harmonisation process, repeat WHS offenders will be refused government contracts, and the WHS Act will be amended to ban insurance against fines, if recommendations from a parliamentary inquiry are adopted.
Tackling Australia's high workplace fatality rate hinges on proactively enforcing officers' due diligence obligations and improving the quality of investigations, according to leading health and safety lawyer Michael Tooma, who warns that industrial manslaughter provisions could drive negative behaviour.
The powers of health and safety reps in one of Australia's most hazardous sectors must be stepped up and aligned with those in the model WHS Act to combat a "culture of fear and reprisal", an inquiry has found. However, Government members of the inquiry warn against harmonisation "simply for the sake of consistency".
The model WHS laws could be amended to increase the focus on psychological health, with the public consultation process for the ongoing review of the laws identifying widespread concerns over this issue and the absence of a "notification trigger" for psychological injuries.
What are best practice PCBUs and their officers doing to comply with their due diligence duties? And what WHS issues should the officers of white-collar organisations be focusing on? Senior WHS and employment lawyer Trent Sebbens explains in this Q&A with OHS Alert.