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WA Legislation Now In Force

The McGowan Government's new Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws begin today improving protections for all Western Australian workers.

A national first, the new laws bring together WHS for general industry, mines and petroleum operations under a single act.

The new laws recognise modern work relationships such as subcontractors and gig economy workers, and introduces the term 'person conducting a business undertaking'.

Therefore, anyone who engages a WA worker has a duty to protect their health and safety, mentally and physically.

WA's new laws harmonise with other States and Territories, except Victoria, although amendments have been made to tailor the laws to reflect our unique State.

This means companies that operate across Australia will have similar obligations and requirements in each State and Territory.

The new laws confirm that officers (senior decision makers) must exercise due diligence to ensure compliance with the laws, ensuring that the responsibility for workplace safety sits with those at the top of an organisation's hierarchy.

Industrial manslaughter laws will also begin, carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $5 million fine for an individual, and a maximum $10 million fine for a body corporate.

Insurance will no longer cover penalties, ensuring that persons conducting a business undertaking are held accountable for their actions and are responsible for financial penalties.

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