The NSW Government says it will introduce industrial manslaughter offence, carrying a 25-year jail term and $20 million fine for worker deaths.

The government says it will introduce tough new measures in the first half of this year.

NSW is the last mainland state without an industrial manslaughter offence.

Industrial manslaughter laws will allow for a business or individual to be held responsible for the death of a person due to gross negligence in the workplace.

The current maximum penalty for the highest form of offence under the WHS Act - Category 1 is 5 years imprisonment for an individual or a $3.8 million fine for a body corporate.

The new laws will allow for a maximum penalty of 25 years jail for an individual or $20 million in fines for a body corporate.

A unit will be established in the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that will be responsible for the prosecution of industrial manslaughter offences against individuals and, where appropriate, related bodies corporate.

“Every worker deserves to go home to their loved ones at the end of the day,” said Minister for Work Health and Safety Sophie Cotsis.

“No government should ever want to have to use these laws.

“Any workplace death is a tragedy and in cases where a person with a work health and safety duty has been careless or irresponsible, they must be held accountable.

“The offence of industrial manslaughter will apply to the worst of the worst cases where gross negligence has caused the death of a person in a workplace.”