Recommendations

Recommendation 1

3.14
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia expand the work-related traumatic injury fatalities data set to capture data on deaths resulting from industrial diseases.

Recommendation 2

3.24
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia maintain a public list of amendments that jurisdictions make to the model work WHS laws.

Recommendation 3

3.32
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with WHS regulators in each jurisdiction to collect and publish a dataset which provides annually updated and detailed information on the prosecution of industrial deaths, including:
the date of the prosecution;
the nature of the entity prosecuted;
the type of issue giving rise to the prosecution;
the provision of the legislation under which the prosecution was taken;
the plea entered by the defendant; and
the sentence imposed by the court.
3.33
The committee also recommends that this data set be provided to:
relevant Commonwealth and State and Territory government agencies so that it can be taken into account in the awarding of government contracts; and
relevant Commonwealth agencies for the purpose of applications for a self-insurance licence under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.
3.34
The committee further recommends that corporations that repeatedly breach WHS obligations and cause death or serious injury should not be awarded Commonwealth, State or Territory government contracts.

Recommendation 4

3.38
The committee recommends that the Boland review consider the recommendations of this inquiry in its review into the model WHS laws.

Recommendation 5

3.62
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to:
update the model WHS framework to cover precarious and non-standard working arrangements (including labour hire) to clarify the extent, scope and nature of the primary duty of care and the obligation under the model WHS Act on dutyholders to consult with each other, as well as workers and their representatives; and
pursue approval of these arrangements in other jurisdictions through the formal harmonisation of WHS laws process.

Recommendation 6

4.39
The committee recommends that Commonwealth, State and Territory governments ensure that their WHS regulators are adequately funded and resourced to allow them to complete investigations in a timely, thorough and effective manner.

Recommendation 7

4.40
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and WHS regulators to develop and deliver standardised training modules to ensure that all investigators have the appropriate skills, experience and attitude to carry out high-quality investigations of industrial deaths and other serious breaches of WHS laws.
4.41
In the absence of a joint approach, the committee encourages all Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and WHS regulators to pursue this recommendation individually.

Recommendation 8

4.42
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with all Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and WHS regulators to:
establish best practice guidelines for the conduct and duration of investigations of serious WHS law breaches, including workplace deaths, which include guidance on the criteria that must be satisfied if an investigation needs to be extended past the usual allocated timeframe; and
ensure that each jurisdiction is able to fully implement these guidelines.
4.43
In the absence of a joint approach, the committee encourages all Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and WHS regulators to pursue this recommendation individually.

Recommendation 9

4.44
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with WHS regulators to develop a policy to formalise collaboration and evidence sharing between WHS regulators and law enforcement agencies during investigations following an industrial death.

Recommendation 10

4.45
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with WHS regulators in each jurisdiction to develop a policy which stipulates that all industrial deaths must be investigated as potential crime scenes.

Recommendation 11

4.56
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia pursue amendments to the model WHS laws to enable a WHS regulator or law enforcement agency in one jurisdiction to assist a second WHS regulator or law enforcement agency in a cross-border investigation, including in the sharing of evidence and other relevant information.

Recommendation 12

4.62
The committee recommends that Commonwealth, State and Territory governments ensure that adequate funding and resourcing is allocated to their WHS regulators to allow for increased, more effective preventative activities in workplaces.

Recommendation 13

5.54
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to:
introduce a nationally consistent industrial manslaughter offence into the model WHS laws, using the Queensland laws as a starting point; and
pursue adoption of this amendment in other jurisdictions through the formal harmonisation of WHS laws process.

Recommendation 14

5.66
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to:
amend the model WHS laws to include the establishment of a dedicated WHS prosecutor in each jurisdiction, similar to the model introduced in Queensland; and
pursue adoption of this amendment in other jurisdictions through the formal harmonisation of WHS laws process.

Recommendation 15

5.67
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to:
amend the model WHS laws to provide that a WHS regulator must in all relevant circumstances provide a published, written justification for why it chose not to bring a prosecution following an industrial death; and
pursue adoption of this amendment in other jurisdictions through the formal harmonisation of WHS laws process.

Recommendation 16

5.68
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to:
amend the model WHS laws to provide that a WHS regulator must in all circumstances provide a published, written justification for why a coronial inquest following an industrial death was not conducted; and
pursue adoption of this amendment in other jurisdictions through the formal harmonisation of WHS laws process.

Recommendation 17

5.76
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to:
amend the model WHS laws to provide for unions, injured workers and their families to bring prosecutions; and
pursue adoption of this amendment in other jurisdictions through the formal harmonisation of WHS laws process.

Recommendation 18

5.82
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to:
amend the model WHS laws to revise the definition of 'officer' to better reflect the capacity of the person to significantly affect health and safety outcomes; and
pursue adoption of this amendment in other jurisdictions through the formal harmonisation of WHS laws process.

Recommendation 19

5.89
The committee recommends that section 232 of the model WHS Act be amended to broaden the limitation period for prosecutions of industrial manslaughter.

Recommendation 20

5.106
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to:
develop national sentencing guidelines, with direction from the UK experience, and look to undertake consultation with relevant stakeholders about the matter; and
review the levels of monetary penalties in the model WHS legislation with consideration to whether there should be increased penalties for larger businesses or repeat offenders.

Recommendation 21

5.122
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to:
amend the model WHS laws to make it unlawful to insure against a fine, investigation costs or defence costs where they apply to an alleged breach of WHS legislation; and
pursue adoption of this amendment in other jurisdictions through the formal harmonisation of WHS laws process.

Recommendation 22

5.134
The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government work to implement its announced reforms to combat phoenixing, such as the Director Identification Number scheme, as swiftly as possible.

Recommendation 23

6.14
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia engage with WHS regulators and emergency services providers in each jurisdiction to develop clear guidelines for the notification of families of an industrial death, with a focus on timeliness and the manner in which the notification is made.

Recommendation 24

6.31
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia collaborate with WHS regulators in each jurisdiction to review, improve and formalise their practices to make the investigation processes as transparent as possible to impacted families, including by providing written guidance on the formal stages of the investigation, regular updates on the progress of an investigation, the reasons for decisions and the future direction of the investigation.

Recommendation 25

6.32
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia collaborate with the governments and WHS regulators in each jurisdiction to provide for dedicated liaison officers to supply information to families about the process of investigations, prosecutions and other formal processes following an industrial death.

Recommendation 26

6.33
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia look to establish a forum for families to submit and publish impact statements in order to give them a voice and outlet for their experiences in the processes that follow an industrial death.

Recommendation 27

6.47
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with the WHS regulator in each jurisdiction to establish advisory committees designed to give advice and make recommendations to the relevant minister about the information and support needs of persons who have been affected directly or indirectly by a workplace incident that involves a death, serious injury or serious illness.

Recommendation 28

6.62
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with the WHS regulator in each jurisdiction to identify and formalise family outreach mechanisms to ensure that all impacted families receive information about the formal processes that follow an industrial death and the associated support that is available to them.

Recommendation 29

6.63
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with the WHS regulator in each jurisdiction to create and maintain a centralised web portal which links to all relevant resources that impacted families may need in the aftermath of an industrial death.

Recommendation 30

6.64
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with the WHS regulator in each jurisdiction to fund a support group or service that is experienced in working with people bereaved by a fatal workplace incident to support impacted families through all formal processes following an industrial death.

Recommendation 31

6.65
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with the WHS regulator in each jurisdiction to make funding available for impacted families to access a range of mental health and counselling support options, including in rural and regional areas.

Recommendation 32

6.66
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia collaborate with the WHS regulator in each jurisdiction to develop an initiative (similar to the Coronial Legal Assistance Service in operation in Queensland) to provide for pro bono legal assistance to families during coronial inquests.

Recommendation 33

6.67
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia work with the WHS regulator in each jurisdiction to ensure that all staff with access to impacted families have adequate training in working with grieving family members.

Recommendation 34

6.68
The committee recommends that Safe Work Australia collaborate with each jurisdiction to review the adequacy of workers' compensation legislation with regard to all work related deaths.

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