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.
NSW has jumped the gun on the other harmonised jurisdictions by introducing a WHS Amendment Bill that increases fines through a penalty unit system, prohibits insurance against safety fines and facilitates work-related manslaughter prosecutions.
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.
NSW is amending its mirror WHS Act to include extraterritorial powers and other recommendations from last year's statutory review, and to exempt police officers from prosecution for WHS breaches committed while dealing with armed offenders.
A company's failure to follow its own safety management plans, and its desire to save costs on tradespeople and engineers, led to a horror bathroom fatality and the first conviction for reckless conduct under Australia's harmonised WHS regime.
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.
NSW WHS stakeholders are being asked to comment on whether to retain union-initiated safety prosecutions, and on the utility of the State's 20 pre-harmonisation Codes of Practice, as part of a mandatory statutory review.