New Work Health and Safety Act

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A historic moment for SSTUWA OSH Organiser Joy Barrett, leaving State Parliament after the second reading of the new Work Health and Safety Act.

Joy has been working on this for 10 years. It is the third time Joy has been involved in re-writing the old OSH legislation which has only had amendments since 1984.

This time it has actually made it in to Parliament because there is currently a Labor government.

Meredith Hammat, President Unions WA and Owen Whittle, Assistant Secretary of Unions WA, spoke to the media after the second reading, as did Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston and family members of people killed in workplace accidents.

The new legislation includes industrial manslaughter provisions carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment for an individual and a fine of $10 million for a body corporate.

Other features of the new legislation include:

  • Prohibition on insurance for monetary penalties
  • Workplace health to be defined as both 'physical and psychological health'
  • Workplace safety to come under a single Act covering all workplaces

  • The bill still has to get through Parliament and a package of specific regulations is being finalised.

    The whole package when gazetted should give WA the best OSH legislation in Australia.