Liability, COVID19, Manslaughter and Working from Home – Welcome to the new OHS

Last week WorkSafe Victoria followed some of the other Australian States by requiring employers to report positive COVID19 cases as “notifiable incidents”. (If they can do this fro COVID19, shouldn’t it be possible to do the same for mental health disorders?) Expanding the pool of notifiable incidents is of little practical consequence but it is …

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Liability insurance products get some serious criticism

In 2017 the Queensland Government was advised to prohibit business insurance products that cover the costs associated with financial penalties that may occur after a successful prosecution of a breach of work health and safety (WHS) laws. This recommendation (page 47) was one of only two that were not accepted by the government and which were …

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Sex, work, liability and safety

There is a constant tension between occupational health and safety (OHS) and workers compensation. OHS is intended to prevent harm and workers compensation is available for when harm cannot be, or has not been, prevented.  In Australia, these two elements of safety are administered by different organisations under different legislation but it is a distinction … Continue reading “Sex, work, liability and safety”

The intersection of OHS and public liability becomes more urgent

In mid-November 2010, a gymnasium in Queensland was fined A$70,000 following the death of a 19-year-old Michelle Maitland.  Ms Maitland fell and hit her head on a part of the floor that was not covered by a safety mat.  The case has been regularly reported in Queensland media since the death in June 2009 and the … Continue reading “The intersection of OHS and public liability becomes more urgent”

D/O liability insurance gets to England’s High Court

Insurance policies for directors and officers (D&O) liabilities have yet to gain much application in terms of occupational health and safety penalties.   But D&O insurance policies are in Australia and are established in other countries. According to Wikipedia: “Directors and Officers Liability Insurance (often called D&O) is liability insurance payable to the directors and officers of a company, … Continue reading “D/O liability insurance gets to England’s High Court”

OHS must raise its profile in the debate of directors’ liability and accountability

The global financial crisis has highlighted many business management issues.  Probably one of the most contentious is executive remuneration which is based on the question “should executives receive performance bonuses when the company is not performing well, ie. not returning profits to shareholders?”  But underpinning even this question is one of accountability. Business leaders, commentators, lawyers and politicians are … Continue reading “OHS must raise its profile in the debate of directors’ liability and accountability”

Civil liability and work-related diseases

On 4 October 2009, Queensland’s Attorney-General Cameron Dick released details of his intentions to increase the compensation available for individuals and their relatives through his  Civil Liability and Other Legislation Amendment Bill.  Below is a table which shows the level of the  increase. It needs to be pointed out that this is not workers’ compensation but OHS legislation is blurring the demarcation … Continue reading “Civil liability and work-related diseases”