Negligent Employers & Senior Executives Can Be Charged With Industrial Manslaughter- New Queensland Laws
In a media statement from the Queensland government, Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace announced new industrial manslaughter laws passed the parliament, leaving negligent employers culpable in workplace deaths with nowhere to hide.
In response to the tragic fatalities at Dreamworld and an Eagle Farm work site in 2016, the Queensland government undertook a Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety in Queensland. The creation of the new offence of industrial manslaughter was one of 58 recommendations contained in the report. Industrial manslaughter allows the criminal prosecution of owners and employers for workplace deaths.
“Negligent employers culpable in workplace fatalities in Queensland will face severe penalties for the new offence of industrial manslaughter,” said Minister Grace.
“Individuals guilty of industrial manslaughter will face 20 years imprisonment, with corporate offenders liable for fines of up to $10 million. These penalties send out a strong message to all employers that negligence causing death won’t be tolerated under any circumstances.
“Because of increasingly elaborate corporate structures, up until now, it’s been difficult to prosecute some employers for manslaughter.
“But these new laws will hold all employers – regardless of their size or structure – accountable for negligence contributing to a worker’s death.
According to the review, worker representatives and plaintiff lawyers favour the creation of an offence of gross negligence causing death, while industry groups and other legal professional groups favoured retaining the status quo.
To date, the only Australian jurisdiction which had a specific industrial manslaughter type offence was the Australian Capital Territory.
“The legislation passed today is all about ensuring all Queensland workers can return home safely to their loved ones after a day’s work.”
Queensland Government Media Release:
Best Practice Review Of Workplace Health and Safety:
Safety Dimensions will update this page as more news comes to hand about what this means in practice for the QLD safety community.
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations) and Equipment (Public Safety) Regulations 2017 (EPS Regulations) commenced in Victoria on 18 June 2017.
You can access them here :
OHS Regulations 2017 [PDF, 2.20MB]
EPS Regulations 2017 [PDF, 276kB]
With the new OHS Regulations 2017 already in force, the compliance codes that align with the regulations are now under review. In consultation with stakeholders, WorkSafe has updated the codes, and eight proposed codes are available for public comment from Monday 1 May to Friday 9 June. Find out more about public comment on the compliance codes.
Find out more about OHS Regulations reform.
OHS Regulations changes
The new OHS Regulations 2017 are mainly the same. However, if you are in a workplace where asbestos is present; are a manufacturer or an importing supplier of hazardous substances or agricultural and veterinary chemicals; work in construction; or operate a mine or major hazard facility, you need to become aware of the changes. In most cases, compliance is required by 18 June 2017.
Most importantly, the new OHS Regulations 2017 maintain Victoria’s already high safety standards. In some high risk areas, like asbestos removal work, they improve standards. The changes also deliver significant savings to Victorian businesses in the areas of high risk work licensing and record keeping for designers and manufacturers of plant.
For some changes, transitional arrangements apply to allow duty and licence holders time to become compliant with the updated regulatory requirements.
If you are affected by the changes, WorkSafe Victoria has prepared a range of information and support resources to help you identify what to do to stay compliant when the changes take effect on 18 June 2017, contact the email address below.
The Regulations have been renumbered with consecutive numbers, in line with the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel’s guidance on the preparation of statutory rules. Reconciliation tables are available through the links below to help you quickly compare the numbering between the 2007 Regulations and the 2017 Regulations.
For further information contact the WorkSafe Victoria Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions and feedback
Feedback and engagement from our stakeholders has played a vital part in making sure the OHS Regulations 2017 and EPS Regulations 2017 are streamlined and modernised to better reflect current Victorian work practices.
In 2016 the proposed new OHS and EPS Regulations 2017 were made available for public comment and 61 submissions were received. WorkSafe considered and responded to all submissions before finalising the Regulations.
All of the submissions, including WorkSafe’s response, are available in the ‘Proposed Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 and Equipment (Public Safety) Regulations 2017 – Response to public comment’ through the link below.
Worksafe Victoria https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/news/notices/ohs-regulations-reform-2017