As at 30 January, Safe Work Australia there have been 15 Australian workers killed at work in 2020. That is one person every two days! A shocking number.
Last year (2019), Safe Work Australia reported a total of 162 workplace fatalities for 2019, 18 more than the previous year! The highest number of deaths are related to vehicle accidents (mainly company workers at fault), falls, falling/moving objects.
It seems questionable whether the WHS laws and Industrial manslaughter laws in WA, Victoria, (coming into effect 2020), ACT, Queensland, & the Northern Territory (commencing 1 Feb, 2020) are acting as a deterrent.
The industrial manslaughter laws can inflict imprisonment of around 20 years and $5 million in fines for an owner or person responsible for negligently causing death and up to $16 million for body Corporates. There however, have been few convictions.
As an SME business, you need to ensure you have done your due diligence, especially if you are in a moderate or high-risk business. However, often, low risk businesses fail to address WHS properly and incur many injuries. In 2019, there were the Workcover Statistics for 2017-18 show there were 107,335 serious claims!
To avoid penalties and jail time, all businesses are required identify all potential hazards and risks, develop proper control systems and ensure they train their leaders and workers with in-depth knowledge of the risks in their work environment and the correct control measures they need to use to keep themselves and others safe.