The ACT's peak body of unions has called for an overhaul of Canberra's workplace regulator, with claims folding the agency into Access Canberra has softened its approach to work safety.
WorkSafe ACT was amalgamated into the Office of Regulatory Services in 2011 and then into Access Canberra in 2015.
UnionsACT secretary Alex White said because of this Canberra no longer had a full-time independent work safety commissioner (current commissioner Greg Jones denied this and said his job had recently reduced in scope to more closely focus on workplace health and safety).
Unions will hold a rally in Canberra on October 26 in protest of this and other major policy changes in the agency which they say have led to a collapse in the number of prosecutions for breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act.
Mr White blamed Access Canberra head Dave Peffer for this change in direction.
"Unions were dismayed at Mr Peffer's decision to remove the focus of WorkSafe from the proactive protection of workers' safety to the priority of educating employers," Mr White said.
"Mr Peffer's weak approach has seen workplace injuries increase, and employers who show a callous disregard for the law have been given a green light to keep putting their employees at risk."
Mr White said Mr Peffer and Access Canberra's senior executives were a "barrier" to restoring a "strong WorkSafe".
"The experiment to give work safety powers to the person in charge of parking fines, gaming and pet registration has failed," Mr White said.
"Mr Peffer must take responsibility for the more than 60 Canberrans who were injured last week at work and the 3000 people injured this year. He must explain to them why he is blocking our efforts to improve workplace safety."
However Mr Peffer said the "engage, educate and enforce" mantra that guided all arms of Access Canberra came from Cabinet.
He said education was the best way to achieve compliance, however where that failed Access Canberra would enforce the law.
"We try to get cooperative compliance where we can," Mr Peffer said.
"Whenever you get a business that's non-compliant, often it's they simply didn't understand rather than they're being wilfully non-compliant.
"Whether it's foodborne illnesses, workers' safety on site or driver safety on the road, very few people deliberately set out to do people harm and providing them with tools and information is often the best way to get compliance
"If we're engaging a business that continues to put people at risk then we can escalate our response to that and move to realm of enforcement, where we can issue anything from a small fine through to criminal prosecution."
Mr Jones said his agency had increased its focus on areas of biggest risk and now issued alerts based on emerging threats to work safety.
Most recently they issued a safety alert for the use of power tools, after a series of injuries were reported.
Mr Jones is no longer the instructions registrar and will soon relinquish the role of commissioner of the Environmental Protection Authority to focus soley on work safety.
However he said neither he or his agency were "compromised" by sitting inside Access Canberra.
"WorkSafe is a government agency, it has to sit somewhere," Mr Jones said.
He said his agency and inspectors benefited from working alongside other regulators from different areas.
He said ultimately WorkSafe, the employers, employees and the unions had one goal in common - getting people home safety.