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WA: Financial and imprisonment penalties for WHS breaches increase

Tuesday, 16 October, 2018 - 15:45
Policy & legislation
National News
Western Australia

Penalties for breaches of Western Australia’s workplace health and safety laws increased from 3 October 2018.

The new penalties are consistent with the national model Work Health and Safety Act (Model Act), with a further 14 per cent increase for inflation since 2010.

Examples for a first offence by a body corporate include:

  • 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. 

Terms of imprisonment for individual offenders have also increased from two to five years for level 4 offences.

The new penalties have been incorporated into the respective Acts will apply in workplaces covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994.

“I’m pleased the new laws have come into effect - the significant increases reflect the seriousness of ensuring the safety of Western Australian workers,” said WA Premier Mark McGowan.

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

Acting Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Francis Logan said: “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.”