The West Australian Government will soon increase the penalties for workplace safety offences in order to bring WA in line with the other states. Premier Mark McGowan said the safety of WA workers was a priority and that the penalties needed to better reflect the importance of a safe workplace. “The substantial increases reflect the seriousness of ensuring the safety of WA workers.”
The amendments will increase penalties for businesses that commit safety offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984 (OSH Act) for the first time since 2004. The harsher penalties will see the maximum prison term increase from two to five years.
Fines for first offenders will drastically increase, with a Level 4 offence set to jump from $500, 000 to over $2.7 million. Level 1 penalties will increase from $50, 000 to $456, 000. The new penalties will be consistent with the national model Work Health and Safety Act (Model Act), with a further increase for inflation.
Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnson said the new penalties “would provide an incentive to comply with workplace safety laws and ensure penalties meet community expectations.” The changes would take place ahead of the introduction of the Government’s Work Health and Safety Bill, expected to be introduced in 2019.