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Employers & Managers: New Industrial Manslaughter Law In QLD

Employers & Managers: New Industrial Manslaughter Law In QLD

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.”

Sources:

Queensland Government Media Release:
http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2017/10/12/new-industrial-manslaughter-laws-to-protect-queenslanders-on-the-job

Best Practice Review Of Workplace Health and Safety:
https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/143521/best-practice-review-of-whsq-final-report.pdf

Safety Dimensions will update this page as more news comes to hand about what this means in practice for the QLD safety community.

Victoria’s New OHS Regulations 2017

Victoria’s New OHS Regulations 2017

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.

Support information

For further information contact the WorkSafe Victoria Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 or at ohsregsreform@worksafe.vic.gov.au.

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.

Resources

Websites


SOURCE:
Worksafe Victoria https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/news/notices/ohs-regulations-reform-2017

WorkLife: Why is work making us sick? (Audio)

WorkLife: Why is work making us sick? (Audio)

Worker compensation claims have been decreasing over time but this masks all kinds of problems with our wellbeing at work.

Making our workplaces healthier and safer means we have to confront all those things causing us stress at work. And that’s not going to be solved by standing desks, complimentary massage or lunchtime yoga.

LISTEN NOW > to the ABC RadioNational podcast of ‘WorkLife: Why is work making us sick?”

Summary of Work-Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities

Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities – 2015

The aim of the Safe Work Australia report is to provide statistics about people who die each year from injuries that arose through work-related activity. This includes fatalities resulting from an injury sustained in the course of a work activity (worker fatalities) and as a result of someone else’s work activity (bystander fatalities).

summary-of-fatalities


summary-of-industry


Download the full report >
Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Australia 2015

Source:
safe_work_australia

 

 


View previous years:

Lack of control over high-stress jobs can lead to early grave

Academic research has found that having greater control over your job can help you manage work-related stress. But it’s never suggested that it was a matter of life and death — until now.

New research from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in the US finds that those in high-stress jobs with little control over their workflow die younger or are less healthy than those who have more flexibility and discretion in their jobs and are able to set their own goals as part of their employment.

Using a longitudinal sample of 2,363 Wisconsin residents in their 60s over a seven-year period, they found that for individuals in low-control jobs, high job demands are associated with a 15.4 percent increase in the likelihood of death, compared to low job demands. For those in high-control jobs, high job demands are associated with a 34 percent decrease in the likelihood of death compared to low job demands.

“We explored job demands, or the amount of work, time pressure and concentration demands of a job, and job control, or the amount of discretion one has over making decisions at work, as joint predictors of death,” said Erik Gonzalez-Mulé, assistant professor of organisational behavior and human resources at the Kelley School and the paper’s lead author.

“These findings suggest that stressful jobs have clear negative consequences for employee health when paired with low freedom in decision-making, while stressful jobs can actually be beneficial to employee health if also paired with freedom in decision-making.”

The paper, “Worked to Death: The Relationships of Job Demands and Job Control With Mortality,” has been accepted for publication in the journal Personnel Psychology.

Studies exploring the work factors associated with death are largely absent from the organisational psychology and management literatures. The authors believe theirs is the first study in the management and applied psychology fields to examine the relationship between job characteristics and mortality.

Gonzalez-Mulé said the paper’s results do not suggest that employers necessarily need to cut back on what is expected from employees. Rather, they demonstrate the value in restructuring some jobs to provide employees with more say about how the work gets done.

“You can avoid the negative health consequences if you allow them to set their own goals, set their own schedules, prioritize their decision-making and the like,” he said, also recommending that firms allow “employees to have a voice in the goal-setting process, so when you’re telling someone what they’re going to do … it’s more of a two-way conversation.”

Thus, micro-managing employees can have a public health impact. Among people in the study’s sample, the researchers also found that the same set of causal relationships applied to their body mass index. People in high-demand jobs with low control were heavier than those in high-demand jobs with high control.

“When you don’t have the necessary resources to deal with a demanding job, you do this other stuff,” Gonzalez-Mulé said. “You might eat more, you might smoke, you might engage in some of these things to cope with it.”

Cancer research studies have found a correlation between eating poorly and developing the disease; at 55 percent, cancer was the leading cause of death of those in the paper’s sample. Other leading causes of death were circulatory system ailments, 22 percent; and respiratory system ailments, 8 percent.

The paper provides more reasons for those in stressful, dead-end jobs to refresh their resumes and look for other employment. Twenty-six percent of deaths occurred in people in frontline service jobs, and 32 percent of deaths occurred in people with manufacturing jobs who also reported high job demands and low control.

“What we found is that those people that are in entry-level service jobs and construction jobs have pretty high death rates, more so than people in professional jobs and office positions,” he said. “Interestingly, we found a really low rate of death among agricultural workers.”

Gonzalez-Mulé said the new study highlights the benefits of job crafting, a relatively new process that enables employees to mold and redesign their job to make it more meaningful. Other research suggests that workers who engage in job crafting are happier and are more productive than co-workers who don’t.

“In some settings, it will be difficult to do this. For a construction worker, it’s going to really hard to allow them autonomy; there’s usually just one right way to do things. In jobs like that, it’s more about just warning the employee of the risks that are here,” he said. “But with some blue-collar jobs, you can. Some people have experimented with this in factory settings, using things like flex-time and paying people based on piece-rate … showing employees what the outcome is of their work.

“There’s a lot research that shows that people who have a social connection with the beneficiaries of their work are much more satisfied and have less stress in their jobs, with no change in the job itself.”

Their study also found that people with a higher degree of control over their work tend to find stress to be useful.

“Stressful jobs cause you to find ways to problem-solve and work through ways to get the work done. Having higher control gives you the resources you need to do that,” Gonzalez-Mulé said. “A stressful job then, instead of being something debilitating, can be something that’s energizing. You’re able to set your own goals, you’re able to prioritize work. You can go about deciding how you’re going to get it done. That stress then becomes something you enjoy.”

Data in the study was obtained from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which followed more than 10,000 people who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. They were interviewed at various time intervals over their lives, through 2011, to provide data on educational, occupational and emotional experiences. All participants in the study were employed but near the end of their careers.

Gonzalez-Mulé and Cockburn only included those who were not retired in 2004 and who responded to questions about job demands and job control, and then followed up on their responses to questions in 2011. They employed rigorous controls for factors such as demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status and affect.

Gonzalez-Mulé wonders if younger workers are better able to cope with demanding jobs, regardless of the level of control, than workers at the end of their careers. Future research could follow people at an earlier point in their careers to see if the Job Demands-Control Model accurately predicts strain over time.


Story Source: Science Daily


Journal Reference:

  1. Erik Gonzalez-Mulé, Bethany Cockburn. Worked To Death: The Relationships of Job Demands and Job Control With Mortality. Personnel Psychology, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/peps.12206