The Western Australian Government has introduced the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill in Parliament, laying a groundwork for future modern workplace safety laws that apply to all industries.
Due to a significant outcry of public concern, the new legislation is set to include industrial manslaughter provisions carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment for an individual and a fine of $10 million for a body corporate.
The new laws will make it illegal for insurance companies to indemnify entities against monetary penalties imposed under workplace health and safety laws.
Western Australian Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said the health and safety of workers was a priority for the McGowan government.
“This bill will modernise Western Australia’s laws and bring us into line with other states,” he said.
“The current legislation is spread across multiple Acts and regulations – this update will bring the resources sector and general industries under the same act, but with separate regulations.”
The WHS Bill defines health as both physical and psychological health, and is aimed at the importance of considering psychological health in the design and management of work.
It is also intended to serve as a reminder that risks to psychological health must be considered alongside risks to physical health.
“The community has high expectations that every worker has the right to come home safely after each shift, having a strong deterrence in this legislation completely accords with these expectations,” Johnston concluded.