Following a review of the Northern Territory’s workplace health and safety practices, harsher penalties have been called for, to address the high rate of workplace deaths in the state.

In the report, the NT WorkSafe inspectors say their relationship with the coroner’s office has deteriorated and the skills of the work safety authority’s personnel needs to be improved.

The review also points out the need for NT WorkSafe to be perceived as being politically independent.

Under the current workplace health and safety laws in the NT, there have been no imprisonments. The independent review into workplace health and safety best practice in the Territory has now recommended the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws. Unions and lawyers have been calling for these laws for a long time.

Review author Tim Lyons states that these laws should carry the same maximum custodial sentence as manslaughter under the criminal code which is life imprisonment or a $10 million fine for a body corporate.

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