Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Premier; Treasurer; Minister for Public Sector Management; Federal-State Relations

Hon Bill Johnston MLA

Hon Bill Johnston MLA

Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Corrective Services; Industrial Relations

    New workplace safety laws and more safety initiatives to better protect workers

    24/08/2019 10:05 AM
    • McGowan Government will implement new initiatives to boost workplace safety
    • WorkSafe operations strengthened with an extra 24 new full-time staff
    • Industrial manslaughter provisions to be introduced to Parliament later this year
    • New laws follow significant increases in penalties introduced last year 

    The McGowan Labor Government will invest $12.9 million in new initiatives, to enhance workplace health and safety.


    An additional 24 full time equivalent staff, including 21 additional inspectors, will be employed by WorkSafe. This will bring the total number of inspectors to 120 to conduct more safety inspections, enforce workplace safety and provide more education and awareness support. 


    The significant boost in safety inspectors will bring Western Australia in line with New South Wales and Queensland and ensures that a ratio of 1.0 inspector FTE per 10,000 employees is met.


    These inspectors will investigate fatal and serious incidents, and an additional 16 vehicles will be added to the fleet, to lift the number of workplace inspections. There will also be inspectors with expertise in industrial and regional cases and those inspecting service industries and specialists.


    A new worker safety campaign called Better Worker Safety, which aims to put safety at front of mind and improve workplace safety and health outcomes in Western Australia, will also be developed as part of the McGowan Government's increased workplace safety initiatives.


    To strengthen Western Australia's workplace safety laws, the McGowan Government will introduce a new Work Health and Safety Bill that will modernise workplace safety laws, better protect workers and hold those responsible for any workplace deaths.


    One of the main features of the legislation is the introduction of two new offences of industrial manslaughter:


    • Industrial manslaughter class one: the most serious offence, this includes a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment for an individual conducting or undertaking a business.
    • Industrial manslaughter class two: this includes a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment for negligent behaviour.  

    This is a result of significant public concern and from recommendations of two recent Federal reviews - the Boland review and the recent Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment report.


    The new offences will also carry a fine of up to $10 million for a body corporate.


    Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:


    "Worker safety is one of my highest priorities, which is why we're rolling out a host of extra workplace safety initiatives to improve compliance and safety, and strengthen our laws.


    "The boost in the number of WorkSafe inspectors will bring Western Australia in line with similar jurisdictions including New South Wales and Queensland and provide better support in workplace investigations and inspections.


    "The death of one worker is one too many, it's time we introduce industrial manslaughter laws to make sure Western Australians are protected at work. 


    "Prison time sends a powerful message, but we don't want it to come to that.


    "We would much rather everyone came home safe from work, and that's why we are boosting the number of safety inspectors, to put more cops on the beat."


    Comments attributed to Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston:


    "These changes will bring Western Australian in line with the national model and help reduce costs and unnecessary duplication of processes.


    "Our work health and safety laws haven't been updated since 1984 and are long overdue for change.


    "Developing the Western Australian Work Health and Safety Bill involved an extensive consultative process, and all views submitted have been considered.


    "In the interest of employers and employees, this Bill will broadly harmonise with the national model to deliver a common approach to occupational health and safety across various jurisdictions.


    "The coming week will see the release of the consultation material for the regulations package covering general industry, mining industry, and the petroleum sector.  This is an important next step in moving the implementation of this reform measure forward promptly.


    "Information on this will be available from the Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety's website."


    Premier's office - 6552 5000

    Industrial Relations Minister's office - 6552 6700