In 2017, fines issued by the Australian Courts for breaches of WHS rose by 8% to a new record of $13,000,000(1). During 2018 and 2019, two directors received non-suspended custodial sentences and are currently imprisoned for separate offences or cases. To our knowledge, this is the first time the Australian Courts system have actioned this level of penalty(2).

These latest statistics and indicators are a sign of things to come for Directors who do not meet their legislative requirements and breach WHS regulations under their watch. The good news is that SafeWork Australia reported a steady decline in the rate of serious claims over the past four years – a decline of 16%3. So, while we are seeing Directors being heavily penalised for serious non-compliance, on the whole our workplaces are becoming safer.

To safeguard your employees, prevent workplace injuries (and a potential review of your WHS Compliance) – and to avoid becoming a statistic, ensure… 

  1. Your workplace has a legally compliant WHS Management System in place to meet your legislative requirements and improve employee safety. Altius Group make safety compliance simple - Altius Group provides WHS software and solutions to assist in meeting industry specific requirements.
  2. You Don’t View Insurance as a “Get Out of Jail Free” Card: Insurance is essential, providing peace of mind, however, it’s important not to view it as a ‘get out of jail free card’ – putting comprehensive WHS management measures in place will keep your insurance premium costs down in the long term and prevention is always best.
  3. You Engage the Experts When You Need to - For Extra Peace of Mind: To identify gaps incompliance and reduce the risk of prosecution and fines, we offer a rapid gap analysis of your WHS Management System. Our consultants conduct remote desk top WHS reviews or face to face, on-site reviews ($200 plus GST for metropolitan areas, travel costs may apply outside of service locations). 

Altius Group provides a suite of services designed to support employer’s Work Health and Safety management.

1. Comparative Performance Monitoring Report 20th Edition Part 2 – Work health and safety compliance and enforcement activities

2. Australian Government Response to ‘They never came home’ report