As part of the 2015 WA State Budget, the Barnett Government has cut staff within WorkSafe, the principal occupation safety and health agency in WA. WorkSafe is responsible for investigations into work accidents and fatalities as well as monitoring breaches to work health and safety laws to prevent accidents and fatalities.
The projected budget cuts to WorkSafe for the next four years total $4.1million [see 'Spending Changes' table pp 494].
The Community and Public Sector Union - Civil Service Association (CPSU/CSA), has issued a media statement, available here.
The cutbacks proposed by the Department of Commerce proposed will:
- Abolish ten WorkSafe Inspector positions, lowering total full time equivalent positions from 103 to 93 - that's a 10% reduction in the number of WorkSafe inspectors.
- Abolish one Inspector Development and Training position and three Community Education positions, effectively ceasing the provision of preventative education activities.
- UPDATE: Abolish one Librarian position, reducing the capacity to keep up-to-date with changing work health and safety information. THIS POSITION HAS BEEN REINSTATED DUE TO OUR CAMPAIGN.
- Abolish three Business Support positions, meaning WorkSafe Inspectors will have to spend more time on administrative work and less time for workplace inspections.
- Reduce the level of service provided by medical practitioners engaged by WorkSafe to provide phone contact/advice.
In short, despite a growing workforce in WA, many in hazardous jobs, there will be a greatly reduced capacity to investigate work accidents and breaches of the law, and less capacity to prevent work accidents and fatalities.
Do you know these seven things about work health and safety?