A significant majority of the Australian population support the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws and an expanded role for unions in ensuring workplace safety, according to new polling conducted by ReachTel for the ACTU.

58.8% of Australians want new laws which would see employers who are responsible for workplace deaths held accountable and ultimately sent to jail.

80.1% want to see significant financial penalties for employers who don’t manage psychological hazards such as bullying and stress.

62.5% believe that unions are important to improving workplace health and safety. Of that group, 88% believe that laws should be strengthened to help workers stay safe and work and allow unions to do the job of enforcing workplace safety.

This polling shows the weight of public opinion is on the side of working people who have been campaigning for government action to end all forms of workplace injuries, including the increasing level of psychosocial injuries, and prevent further deaths at work.

Four workers are killed at work every week in Australia.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien:

“Everyone should come home safe from work, but every week four people are killed in their workplace in Australia.

“The rate of psychological injuries in Australian workplaces is rapidly increasing and urgent action is needed to address this trend. Employers must take action to reduce workplace stress.

“Australians want urgent action to prevent more workplace deaths. States, territories and the commonwealth need to act to ensure that there are real deterrents in place which will force employers to make sure workplaces are safe.

“Bosses who cut corners and kill worker should go to jail.

“This should not be happening in Australia in 2019. We need to change the rules, governments need to listen to the people and bring in industrial manslaughter laws now.”