Western Australia has taken a critical step closer to implementing industrial manslaughter laws and joining the harmonised WHS regime, with its Work Health and Safety Bill 2019 passing the Upper House with amendments last night.
After being flagged in the State budget more than seven years ago, Western Australia has finally introduced a mirror WHS Bill, which includes a two-level industrial manslaughter offence and a new duty of care for "WHS service providers". Meanwhile, the Northern Territory's industrial manslaughter laws have passed Parliament.
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.
Two amendment Bills increasing Western Australia's maximum work health and safety fines, to well above those for reckless conduct in the harmonised jurisdictions, have passed Parliament, and could take effect within days.
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.
WHS consultants, lawyers and occupational hygienists will have an explicit duty to ensure their services don't create health and safety risks at client sites, if recommendations on the development of a harmonised WHS Bill are adopted in Western Australia.
The current OSH Act in Western Australia will be amended to increase the maximum fine for gross negligence to nearly $3 million, and increase fines for lower-level offences by more than 800 per cent, the State Government has announced.