THE Australian Council of Trade Unions has called on the government to strengthen national Occupational Health and Safety laws and make directors personally liable for workplace injuries and death.
The council say directors should be fined or jailed for up to 20 years to ensure companies cannot restructure to avoid paying fines as a result of negligent conduct.
“Strengthening OHS laws to make negligent companies and individual directors liable sends a clear message to employers that they must ensure people are safe at work,” ACTU assistant secretary Michael Borowick said.
“Forty six Australians have died at work in the past year because their employer didn’t take their safety at work seriously enough – we need to change that.
“Current laws need to be strengthened so that companies and company directors are liable for our safety at work.’’
In Australia, the average fine for a workplace fatality is around $100,000, which would equate to a fraction of the profit of large businesses making billions of dollars a year.
These laws would help strengthen workplace safety.
With International Workers’ Memorial Day taking place earlier this week to commemorate people killed at work, the ACTU want the Abbott Government to adopt stronger laws to protect the lives of millions Australians at work.