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.
A judge has upheld a $9,000 fine in the first (and "somewhat curious") prosecution involving the WHS duty to "consult workers". He also disagreed with a landmark finding that Queensland's WHS fines should be consistent with those in the other harmonised jurisdictions.
WHS amendments prompted by the Dreamworld disaster are commencing in Queensland in eight weeks, while the national model WHS laws could be amended to prevent devices covered by a prohibition notice in one jurisdiction being transferred to and used in another.
The company director jailed for recklessly endangering a roofer, who fell to his death, over-relied on the diligence of workers and skimped on safety controls, the Queensland Office of Industrial Relations has revealed.
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.
New industrial manslaughter laws that could be adopted nationally are clearly intended to cover a broader range of people than the WHS Act's due diligence obligations, and breaches will be far easier to prove than category 1 offences, according to safety and employment lawyer Katherine Morris.
WHS amendments that recently passed in Queensland and will be pushed nationally effectively mandate risk management, while the industrial manslaughter provisions "create conflict" in the operation of the WHS Act, according to leading health and safety lawyer Michael Tooma.