McGowan Government announces tougher penalties for workplaces

  • Significant increase to penalties for businesses who commit safety offences
  • Penalties include increased imprisonment terms and fines
  • Election commitment to modernise occupational health and safety system in WA

The McGowan Government announced tougher penalties for workplace safety offenceshave come into effect this week.

The new laws increase penalties for workplace safety offences under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994.

Harsher penalties for offenders include increasing the maximum term of imprisonment from two years to five years, and increased fines for body corporates:

  • Level 4 offences now attract a maximum $2.7 million penalty for first offenders and $3.5 million for subsequent offenders (up from $500,000 and $625,000 respectively); and
  • Level 1 penalties have increased from $50,000 to $450,000 for first offenders and from $62,500 to $570,000 for subsequent offences.

The penalties are consistent with the national model Work Health and Safety Act.

As noted by Premier Mark McGowan:

“I’m pleased the new laws have come into effect – the significant increases reflect the seriousness of ensuring the safety of Western Australian workers.

“All workers have the right to return home safely from work, and my Government is committed to improving workplace health and safety laws.”

As noted by Acting Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Francis Logan:

“I’m confident the new penalties will meet community expectations and improve safety in the Western Australian workplace.

“The McGowan Government is working on modernising other workplace health and safety laws, which we hope to introduce to State Parliament next year.”

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