The national model Work Health and Safety Act, Regulations and related materials have been amended to reflect a wide range of recommendations from Marie Boland's independent review of the laws. Some states have already adopted some of the changes, while other jurisdictions are likely to follow suit soon.
Australia's WHS ministers have agreed to amend the model WHS Regulations to prescribe control measures for psychological risks, and significantly increase safety penalties, but proposed industrial manslaughter laws were voted down at their meeting yesterday.
The model WHS laws could be amended to increase the focus on psychological health, with the public consultation process for the ongoing review of the laws identifying widespread concerns over this issue and the absence of a "notification trigger" for psychological injuries.
Safe Work Australia has launched the public consultation process for the review of the model WHS laws, posing 37 questions for discussion and pointing to the reasons why industrial manslaughter provisions weren't included in the Act.
An employer has been handed the highest fine for a single safety offence in Australian history, in a case, according to the ACT Work Safety Commissioner, which shows judges will impose significant penalties, under the harmonised WHS Act, on those with poor safety records.
An Industrial Magistrate's June decision to acquit the first person charged as an "officer" under the harmonised WHS laws has been published, and is, according to a leading safety lawyer, the first judgment to examine the meaning of due diligence under the new laws.
A recent safety prosecution involving a liquidated company, and the first person charged as an "officer" under the harmonised WHS laws, has highlighted one of the main reasons the officer provisions were included in the new legislation, according to a regulator.