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Employee Deaths Could Mean Jail Time

The onsite death of an employee could put negligent mine managers behind bars under new legislation being considered by the Western Australian Government.

PerthNow reports the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum is investigating the possibility of charging mine managers with corporate manslaughter if it can be proven their actions, or lack of action, lead to the death of an employee.

The new legislation could also see the introduction of a demerit point system and slap companies with financial penalties directly pegged to profit margins. This would mean big multinational companies would receive significantly larger fines than their smaller counterparts.

New laws could also see managers held responsible for environmental breaches or disasters, with enforcement measures including warnings, fines, stop-work orders, licence changes, and prosecutions.

Department deputy director-general Michelle Andrews said while most of the state’s operations were secure the industry needed to “remain vigilant” and compare its legislation with rules in other parts of Australia and the world.

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AMSJ April 2022