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News Media Releases Seven workplace deaths this month – Barnett must act now on workplace safety laws
Seven workplace deaths this month – Barnett must act now on workplace safety laws
Thursday, 01 December 2011 12:27

The tragic death of a worker in Bayswater this morning brings to seven the number of workplace deaths in WA this month.

UnionsWA has expressed sorrow at yet another death and angrily reiterated the call for the Barnett Government to act immediately to strengthen WA’s workplace safety laws.

UnionsWA Occupational Health and Safety Officer Linda Morich said that instead of working to ensure WA workers have the highest possible level of workplace safety, the Barnett Government was risking yet more workplace deaths by failing to sign up to the new national safety laws.

“This is a tragic reminder of just how important it is that we have the highest possible level of workplace safety laws in WA. Coming into Christmas we now have seven families who are mourning the death of a loved one and that is just unacceptable.”

As well as delaying implementing the new legislation the State Government is refusing to sign up to five key aspects of the new national safety laws. This includes giving the Director of Public Prosecutions the power to prosecute employers for serious safety breaches and increasing the maximum penalty for employers from $625,000 to $3million.

“While we do not wish to comment on the exact nature of this recent tragedy given it will be under investigation, the fact that we have had yet another workplace death in such a short period of time serves to highlight the inadequacies of our current health and safety laws,” Ms Morich said.

“Other states are treating the new national laws as a minimum standard and putting further protections on top of them. The fact that the WA State Government won’t even bring WA’s workplace safety laws in line with the bare minimum is grossly negligent and shows a callous disregard for the welfare of West Australian workers.”

Just this month ACTU President Ged Kearney travelled to Perth to draw attention to the WA State Government’s failure on workplace safety. Whilst here Ms Kearney presented a petition calling for WA to adopt all of the new national workplace laws to the Leader of the Opposition, Eric Ripper.

 
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