Tougher penalties are on the way which endeavour to ensure Western Australian employers mandate a culture of safety and implement safety policies in their companies. New industrial manslaughter laws contained in the Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WA) will see those convicted receive harsh penalties for fatal WHS incidents. A fine of up to $5 million and/or up to 20 years in prison for individuals, and a maximum $10 million penalty for corporations will hopefully be enough for company safety regulators to sit up take their WHS safety roles seriously and protect employee welfare. The increased penalties come after a company director was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for gross negligence following the death of one of his young workers and the serious injury of another. Both workers at the time of the incident were unlicensed, with the deceased not even holding a construction induction training certificate. Other states and territories have also shown willingness to prosecute negligent individuals and corporations, after the company directors of Brisbane Auto Recycling were fined $3 million and given suspended sentences for the same offence.
Company directors and safety officers must start taking WHS seriously otherwise they run the risk of serious repercussions if their negligence has fatal consequences. Contact Daniel Morgan for help understanding your responsibilities.