ID :
Mon, 05/11/2009 - 16:41
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Proposed OHS laws no good: ACTU

Proposed new national workplace safety laws would weaken workers' legal protection
in some states, the ACTU says.
Launching a campaign to strengthen the safety laws, union president Sharan Burrow
said proposed laws would, in some states, make it harder than it currently was to
successfully prosecute employers over workplace safety breaches.
State and federal ministers will meet next week to discuss the proposed laws, which
were recommended in a national review, after the Council of Australian Governments
(COAG) resolved to nationalise workplace safety laws in 2006.
Ms Burrow said that as well as weakening some states' present laws requiring
prosecuted employers to show they had provided a safe workplace, the laws would also
weaken most states' existing requirements for employers to consult workers about
occupational health and safety issues.
"The move by the COAG to develop consistent workplace health and safety laws across
all states and territories is a positive one, but it is vital that protections for
workers are lifted, not lowered," Ms Burrow told reporters on Monday.
"The proposed new national occupational health and safety laws being considered by
federal, state and territory ministers will actually undermine standards, putting
Australian workers and their families at risk."
Ms Burrow said more than 7,000 Australians were estimated to die through
workplace-related injury and disease each year - more than four times the national
annual road toll.
The construction industry was one of the most dangerous.