Premier says industrial manslaughter laws are worth exploring
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Premier says industrial manslaughter laws are worth exploring

Industrial manslaughter laws are worth exploring in Western Australia, Premier Mark McGowan says.

A federal parliamentary inquiry into industrial deaths on Thursday heard from the CFMEU, which has long pushed to make industrial manslaughter a specific criminal offence, and grieving families who said current penalties were not enough.

Families told the inquiry of their grief after loved ones were killed while working.

Families told the inquiry of their grief after loved ones were killed while working.

Photo: Ryan Stuart

"I think industrial manslaughter laws are worthwhile. Too many people are being injured in the workforce so we're constantly on the lookout for new things we can do to improve the situation," Mr McGowan said on Friday.

The union submitted to the inquiry that the offence should encompass circumstances where any person is killed in a work-related incident.

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This would protect members of the public, such as the three pedestrians who were killed when a wall on the edge of a Grocon site collapsed in Melbourne in 2014, the union said.

It would also ensure justice in industries such as construction where multiple contractors and sub-contractors work on a site.

The inquiry heard from grieving families including Mark and Janice Murrie, whose 22-year-old son Luke was killed at his Perth workplace in 2007 when strapping on packs of tower crane parts he was lifting broke and he was struck to the temple.

"As you can image, our world spiralled unbelievably and was broken and to this day is still broken," the Murries said in their submission.

Luke's employers were fined, but his parents believe the penalties were "grossly inadequate".

"If this is not addressed, many more family members will never make it safely home because there is no true deterrent, and nothing will change, and our son would have died for nothing," they said.

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Ashlea Cunico told the inquiry about the loss of her father Robert, who died in April working forCivmec Construction and Engineering at the Woodman Point waste water treatment plant in Perth.

"Whilst my family and I went about our lives as normal, my dad was dying in the arms of a work colleague ten metres up in the air," Ms Cunico wrote.

"There are no words to express the pain and suffering my family has endured since that day, not limited to emotional distress but also financial suffering."

She said laws surrounding workplace fatalities were outdated and unacceptable, especially in WA.

"There should be no difference between states and territories," Ms Cunico said.

"There should be zero tolerance for negligent behaviours on our worksites for individuals and corporations alike.

"This cannot be achieved through self-regulation and must be made law."