In the period leading up to one of the worst industrial disasters in Australian history, workers on the project raised many safety concerns that were ignored by their employers, according to a labour historian.
The author of the review that led to the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws in Queensland has recommended that senior officers face up to "life" in prison for negligently causing the death of a worker in the Northern Territory. Meanwhile, the Territory has passed laws to protect emergency workers from violence.
In this follow-up story on the major review of the model WHS laws, OHS Alert examines more recommendations and two areas that will, according to leading health and safety lawyer Michael Tooma, have a significant impact on the regime and duty holders.
Marie Boland's review of the national model WHS laws has recommended introducing the offence of industrial manslaughter, making it easier for union officials to enter worksites to assist health and safety representatives, and banning insurance against WHS penalties.
A model WHS guide has been amended to reflect recent Federal and High Court rulings on entering workplaces to assist health and safety reps. Safe Work Australia has also released new guidance on identifying company officers and their duties, a major fatality report, and safety and workers' comp comparison reports.
A company owner has been jailed for recklessly endangering and killing a worker. Meanwhile, a major employer has been fined nearly $500,000 for threatening an HSR who refused to endorse an unsafe work method, and another employer has been fined over a quarry death.