Unions pushing to make Company Directors liable for workplace death

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Company Directors should be fined and/or imprisoned for up to 20 years as a result of workplace death, according to a new call to action from the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).

Ahead of the International Workers’ Memorial Day set to take place tomorrow, the ACTU is highlighting the deaths of 46 Australian workers this year. The industry body said there are currently no provisions in OHS laws that hold directors personally accountable if a death results from a company’s negligence.

“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.”

According to Unions, the average fine for a death in the workplace is generally around $100,000. This number, the ACTU said, is just a fraction of the big profit often seen by big business.

Mr Borowick said workplace safety would be strengthened if the Abbott Government adopts strong laws to hold companies and company directors directly responsible.