Would Reckless Endangerment improve safety and health more than would Industrial Manslaughter laws?

The reckless endangerment provision of Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 is likely to be crucial to this year’s discussions on Industrial Manslaughter laws and the management of workplace health and safety more generally, particularly as Victoria’s Minister for Workplace Safety, Jill Hennessy, has announced an implementation taskforce that includes a Workplace Fatalities and Serious Incidents Reference Group.

Section 32 says:

“A person who, without lawful excuse, recklessly engages in conduct that places or may place another person who is at a workplace in danger of serious injury is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to—
(a) in the case of a natural person, a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, or a fine not exceeding 1800 penalty units, or
both; and
(b) in the case of a body corporate, a fine not exceeding 20, 000 penalty units.”

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The Challenges of Future Workplaces – Part 1

This article is part one of an edited version of a keynote presentation I made at the a special WHS Inspectors Forum organised by WorkSafe Tasmania.  The audience comprised inspectors from around Australia and New Zealand.  I was asked to be provocative and challenging so posed some questions to the audience about how occupational health and safety (OHS) is managed, regulated and inspected.

The audio of the presentation is available at SoundCloud and Podbean and below.

 “The purpose of this session is to provide insight into the future challenges for work health and safety regulators due to changes in the nature of work, the workforce, supply chains, and the social and political environments, and encourage inspectors to consider how the way they do their work may need to change to meet these challenges.”

Be Critical

I encourage you all to analyse what you say, what you are told, what you do and how you do it.  Too often we accept information and our situations uncritically and I want you to question everything, including what you read in this article.

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Industrial Manslaughter is more than just a law, it is a cry for justice.

For those Australians who are watching the latest political push for Industrial Manslaughter laws, it is important to remember that the activity has a history that extends over a decade.  Many of the current arguments for and against have been addressed previously.  In August 2004, the earlier iteration of this blog, Safety At Work magazine, printed a special edition on “The Australian Industrial Manslaughter Debate”.  Below is an edited version of my Editorial in that magazine. A longer article on the issues raised in that edition is available elsewhere in the SafetyAtWorkBlog.

 

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Families get a good deal from the Industrial Deaths inquiry

Photo credit: Workplace Safety Services

Will the recommendations of the Senate Committee’s inquiry into industrial deaths benefit relatives of deceased workers? Yes, mostly.

It seemed like relatives gained greater access to this Senate Committee than in other inquiries.  Some public hearings were held with only relatives presenting.  This is a major change.  The transcripts of the 2012

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Start the bullying epidemic without me

Australia has been told for a long time that workplace bullying was an epidemic.  Recent data seems to indicate that workplace bullying is a persistent problem which, to some extent, has blended into the miasma that is work-related mental health.  The Fair Work Commission released its 2017/18 Annual Report on October 18 (not yet online) adding further doubt to the epidemic claims.

Below is a comparison graph (page 19) of FWC activity which shows 721 applications concerning workplace bullying. It is ninth in the list of FWC activities.

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