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News Media Releases Workplace death tragic reminder of Barnett Government’s pathetic position on workplace safety
Workplace death tragic reminder of Barnett Government’s pathetic position on workplace safety
Monday, 07 November 2011 17:23

A fatal workplace accident over the weekend in Picton is a terrible reminder of the Barnett Government’s failure to act on workplace safety laws.

WA unions have expressed sorrow at yet another workplace death and anger at the Barnett Government’s failure to bring WA’s workplace safety laws up to scratch.

From the start of 2012 WA will have weakest health and safety laws in Australia as new uniform laws are rolled out in every state and territory except WA.

The WA Coalition Government has refused 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.

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk has repeated the WA union movement’s call for stronger laws to prevent more workplace deaths. “A fine imposed on a company after a serious accident or a death is small comfort to the worker’s family. The consequences of poor workplace safety need to be high to ensure cultural change throughout WA workplaces.”

“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 WA serves to highlight the inadequacies of our current health and safety laws,” Ms McGurk 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.”

In WA, on average one worker is killed every 17 days and every 30 minutes there is a serious injury at work.

This Thursday at 9am ACTU President Ged Kearney will be in Perth to hand over a petition calling for WA to adopt all of the new national workplace laws to the Leader of the Opposition Eric Ripper and to Greens MLC Alison Xamon. 21 workers representing the 21 West Australians killed on average each year at work will gather for a minutes silence on the steps of Parliament House.

Simone McGurk is available for comment.
For more information contact: Madeleine Holme on 0417 060 360 or (08) 6313 6014

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