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Workplace safety penalties to rise by up to 800 per cent in WA.

Workplace safety penalties to rise by up to 800 per cent in WA. (Last Updated On: August 31, 2017)

Penalties for Western Australia workplace safety offences will soon rise by up to 800 per cent.

The amendments will increase penalties for WA businesses which commit safety offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984 (OSH Act) for the first time since 2004. The increase is being introduced to bring WA into line with other jurisdictions and ensure penalties reinforce the importance of a safe workplace.

Premier Mark McGowan stated in a press report that the substantial increase reflects the “seriousness of ensuring the safety of Western Australian workers” and his commitment to “improving workplace health and safety laws to ensure all workers return home safely from work.”

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 percent) from 2010. 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.

First offence fines for body corporate offenders will drastically increase. Level 1 penalties will increase from $50,000 to $456,000 and Level 4 first time offences will increase from $500,000 to more than $2.7 million. The harsher penalties include an increase in the maximum term of imprisonment from two to five years.

What should employers do?

The new penalties provide an incentive for all employers to comply with workplace safety laws.  Employsure can help to protect the health of your employees by ensuring that you have the correct employment policies and procedures in place. The key to this is the implementation of health and safety policies both at a management level (to ensure you are doing everything necessary to comply with your obligations) as well at a worker level (to ensure your workers are aware of and comply with their obligations).

Are you meeting all your legal and regulatory obligations in the workplace? If you need clarification, call Employsure on 1300 651 415.

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