Employers found to have grossly breached their duty of care will face severe penalties should an incident result in death, under new legislation passed in the ACT on Thursday.
Following changes to the Work Health and Safety Act, individuals can face up to 20 years in prison and corporations can be fined $16,500,000 if an employee is killed on the job.
The bill was passed in response to a federal inquiry into workplace deaths in Australia, which found 182 people were killed at work in 2020 - two from the ACT.
So far in 2021, there have been 60 workplace deaths in Australia, the transport, postal and warehousing industry accounting for more than half of those deaths.
There have been 21 people killed in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry and 17 people killed while working in construction so far this year.
In line with recommendations, WorkSafe ACT has recruited a family liaison officer to assist the family of deceased workers during the investigation and prosecution processes.
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Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Mick Gentleman said the strict penalties reflected the seriousness of the offence.
Mr Gentleman said the laws would provide more avenues to address systemic non-compliance at some workplaces.
"Every workplace fatality is a preventable tragedy," Mr Gentleman said.
"Workplace safety is a right that must be protected at all costs."
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