Changes to the WA OHS laws have introduced Industrial Manslaughter as an offence.
The WA Work Health and Safety Bill 2019 was passed by the lower house on 22/10/2020 and is expected to pass the upper house in the next fortnight.
The addition of the Industrial Manslaughter offence to WA is a departure from the harmonised WHS laws, but WA is by no means on its own. VIC and the ACT both also have Industrial Manslaughter offences within their local versions of the WHS laws.
Under the new law if an individual is convicted of Industrial Manslaughter they face a penalty of between 5 and 20 years in jail. Businesses or body corporate that are found guilty of Industrial Manslaughter will fact fines of up to $10m.
By focusing on a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) these offenses go beyond the traditional employee/employer relationship and can be applied in subcontractor and potentially gig economy settings.