New WHS laws in WA in effect from 31 March 2022
The McGowan Government’s new Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws commenced yesterday aimed at improving protections for all Western Australian workers. The new laws bring together WHS for general industry, mines and petroleum operations under a single act.
The new laws recognise modern work relationships such as subcontractors and gig economy workers, and introduces the term ‘person conducting a business undertaking’. Therefore, anyone who engages a WA worker has a duty to protect their health and safety, mentally and physically.
WA’s new laws harmonise with other States and Territories, except Victoria, with amendments made to tailor the laws to reflect WA. This means companies that operate across Australia will have similar obligations and requirements in each State and Territory.
The new laws confirm that officers (senior decision makers) must exercise due diligence to ensure compliance with the laws, ensuring that the responsibility for workplace safety sits with those at the top of an organisation’s hierarchy.
Industrial manslaughter laws will also begin, carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $5 million fine for an individual, and a maximum $10 million fine for a body corporate.
Insurance will no longer cover penalties, ensuring that persons conducting a business undertaking are held accountable for their actions and are responsible for financial penalties.
For more information, visit http://www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/WHS