W.A. Government to increase penalties for workplace safety offences

August 27, 2017 Tara

 

  • Significant increase to penalties for businesses who commit safety offences
  • Safety of WA workers a priority of the McGowan Government
  • Penalties in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984 to be consistent with the model Work Health and Safety Act

The McGowan Government will increase penalties for workplace safety offences to bring Western Australia into line with other States and ensure penalties better reflect the importance of a safe workplace.

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 per cent) from 2010.

Harsher penalties for offenders include increasing 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 penalties will increase from $50,000 to $456,000.

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.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“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.

“The McGowan Government is committed to improving workplace health and safety laws to ensure all workers return home safely from work.”

Comments attributed to Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston:

“The changes to penalty levels will take place ahead of the introduction of the Government’s Work Health and Safety Bill, 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.”

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