Western Australia has announced a two-level industrial manslaughter offence, revealed plans to beef up its safety inspectorate and released a draft WHS framework. Meanwhile, Victoria has introduced a new reckless conduct offence with $6.4 million fines for employers.
In a case involving a charity drive and entry breaches, the Federal Court has rejected a regulator's assertion that workers' subjective "feelings" about how safe their sites are can't justify a stoppage.
An employer and three of its managers have been fined for preventing union officials from investigating suspected safety breaches, while the Federal Court has dismissed claims that a union official "negated" a Western Australian employer's choice to operate after an ACT fatality, which led to multiple reckless conduct charges.
In a long-running case that clarified right-of-entry laws for assisting health and safety representatives, the Federal Court has found a union official's breaches only deserved a low-range fine, in part because they probably improved the safety and efficiency of the relevant site.
A court has fined a union and a "recidivist" official $137,000, after the latter entered a worksite over suspected WHS issues but put workers at risk by climbing onto an operating crane and ignoring requests to follow safety rules.
A union official recently accused of hindering a WHS inspector in Queensland has been charged with doing the same thing in another jurisdiction, while two of his colleagues have been charged with misleadingly telling workers they were entitled, by WHS laws, to leave an "unsafe" site on full pay.
A WHS regulator has stressed that it is continuing to tackle imminent or serious safety risks under current "work bans", and progressing strategies to protect its inspectors from threats or assaults, after the Federal Government warned that these inspectors are living in fear of occupational violence.