Industrial manslaughter now a crime in Victoria

Industrial manslaughter now a crime in Victoria

The Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter and Other Matters) Bill 2019 is designed to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHS Act), to include this new offence Workplace Manslaughter.

From 2020, business and officers whose negligent conduct leads to the workplace death of a worker shall be guilty of workplace manslaughter. Businesses such as partnerships, corporate entities and associations will be liable for fines up to$16.5 million, while sole traders and officers can face up to 20 years of gaol time if found convicted.

An incident that occurred in Brisbane, Queensland resulted in a company Viz. Auto Recycling Pty Ltd being charged with industrial manslaughter resulting from a workplace accident where a worker was killed by a forklift, the Court finding that the death was a result of the Company failing to adequately separate pedestrians from the mobile plant.

The Victorian Parliament enacted the Workplace Safety Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter) Bill 2019 and made the employer guilty of workplace manslaughter when:

  1. involved in a negligent conduct;
  2. conduct is a breach of an OHS duty owed to another person;
  3. conduct causes the death of the employee or any other person.

The ACT makes the offence apply to any person deemed to be an officer under the Corporations Act 2001 which includes directors, secretaries and any person who holds a significant role concerning decisions of an organisations business or finances.

What do I need to do as an employer?

  • Ensure you have a safe system of work in place: review your current occupational health and safety processes and systems, taking into account both physical and mental health and safety matters.
  • Review your current workplace policies, confirm that your workplace policies are implemented effectively across your business and your workforce are aware of the policies;

Once the amendment and ACT are assented to, the legislation will take effect in the coming months, either on a date to be proclaimed or on 1 July 2020.

Please contact our office if we can be of any assistance concerning any Legal Issues regarding Occupational Health & Safety.

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