McGowan Government to increase penalties for workplace safety offences

The WA state government will be increasing penalties for workplace safety offences to bring Western Australia into line with other States and ensure penalties better reflect the importance of a safe workplace.

In a press report, the WA government stated that the amendments will increase penalties for businesses which commit safety offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984 (OSH Act) for the first time since 2004.

Premier McGowan said, “Penalties for workplace safety offences haven’t changed for 13 years.  The substantial increases reflect the seriousness of ensuring the safety of Western Australian workers.

“The McGowan Government is committed 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 per cent) from 2010.

Harsher penalties for offenders include increasing the maximum term of imprisonment from two to five years.

First offence fines for body corporate offenders will also drastically increase, Level 4 first time offences will increase from $500,000 to more than $2.7 million.

Level 1 penalties will increase from $50,000 to $456,000.

With the exception of WA and Victoria, other Australian jurisdictions have adopted the Model Act and, as a result, penalty levels in WA’s OSH Act are significantly less than those applying in many other jurisdictions.