Can poor safety management = negligence?

L to R: Catherine Dunlop and Dale McQualter

In relation to the release, last week, of the Brady Review SafetyAtWorkBlog wondered:

“It is worth asking whether a reliance on Administrative Controls could be interpreted as a level of negligence that could spark an Industrial Manslaughter prosecution.”

A seminar hosted by law firm Maddocks this week offered an opportunity to pose this as a question.

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Industrial Manslaughter – politics, suicide and misrepresentation

The 2020 business year has started with a bunch of occupational health and safety (OHS) seminars. Given last year’s moves towards Industrial Manslaughter laws in several Australian States, a discussion of these laws is inevitable and there are some voices calling out the politics of the issue. Herbert Smith Freehills’ Steve Bell is one of them.

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HR needs to broaden its pool of risks

Human Resources (HR) professionals often have an enviable degree of influence over the decision making of company executives. In modern parlance, they are “influencers”; as such it is useful to keep an eye on the advice offered by the association that represents HR professionals, the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI).

Recently, freelance journalist, David Barbeler wrote “A comprehensive look at what lies ahead for workplaces in 2020” in AHRI’s HR Magazine. Given that the article is headlined as comprehensive, there are several peculiar occupational health and safety (OHS)-related omissions, especially workplace sexual harassment, Industrial Manslaughter, suicide and mental health.

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Industrial Manslaughter exemption for mining looks over

Many advocates see the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter laws as a glorious moment that will change the world for the better, in other words, a silver bullet. But if it is a silver bullet, it is being shot into the political murk. Queensland’s expansion of its Industrial Manslaughter laws to the mining and resources industries was presented to Parliament on February 4, 2020, and is likely to pass with the support of those industries.

Occupational health and safety (OHS) laws should apply to businesses and workers without exception. Queensland’s exemption of the mining and resources sector from Industrial Manslaughter laws was always a nonsense but that nonsense made good political sense in an election year.

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