This story was originally published in The West Australian on 17 July 2017 with the headline "Overhaul for ‘out of date’ work safety laws." © Peter Milne.
The State’s work health and safety laws will undergo a major revamp, streamlining three Acts into a single one more consistent with national legislation.
Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston will today announce the Government is to develop a new Work Health and Safety Bill.
Based on national laws, it will be the primary safety legislation for all industries in the State.
“Occupational, health and safety legislation in WA is 30 years old and is out of date,” Mr Johnston said.
The move comes more than five years after all States and Territories, except WA and Victoria, adopted consistent occupational health and safety laws.
The Government does not expect to introduce a Bill to Parliament until mid-2019.
The announcement comes as the Legislative Council starts an inquiry into WorkSafe, which regulates safety outside the resources sector.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union State secretary Mick Buchan said WorkSafe failed to ensure construction workers’ safety. It should be more transparent and better resourced, with experienced inspectors to issue on-the spot fines.
“We are still waiting for the findings of the WorkSafe investigation into the fatality of two young Irish workers on a Jaxon Construction site in Bennett Street in 2015,” he said.
Inquiry chairwoman Labor MLC Adele Farina said there had been 315 work-related deaths in WA since 2001 with almost 20 fatalities a year over the past decade.
Ms Farina said the inquiry would examine the performance and funding of WorkSafe.
Chamber of Mines and Energy chief executive Reg Howard-Smith said the inquiry was an opportunity to highlight the importance of modernised work health and safety legislation.