June 16, 2020
As previously advised the new workplace manslaughter offence starts on 1 July 2020. An employer, contractor, self-employed person or director/manager of one of entities might be charged with workplace manslaughter if there is a workplace death from that date.
Interestingly the first prosecution for industrial manslaughter in Queensland has been completed. A company, which may be in liquidation soon, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter offence and has been fined $3 million. The two directors of the company pleaded guilty not to industrial manslaughter but a lesser offence. They were convicted of the offence and received suspended prison sentences for ten months. The publicly available information about the circumstances suggest that the business operated by the company had practically no safety measures in place and its compliance with regulation in general may not have been a high priority. This business is likely to be the type of business that the Victorian regulator would see as an ideal target for a workplace manslaughter prosecution if a person dies at that business’ workplace.
HIA has available on its website a recorded webinar about the workplace manslaughter offence. There are also training courses that HIA delivers that may help with OHS compliance. HIA staff in the Safety Services and Workplace Services teams are available to help members with queries about OHS compliance and the workplace manslaughter offence. A valuable service offered by HIA is the free phone Safety Health Check and members who are unsure about their OHS compliance should consider this service.
If you want to undertake a safety check or want practical guidance on these matters don’t hesitate to call HIA on 1300 650 620 and ask to speak to Safety Services.