The Australian Institute of Health and Safety (AIHS) has published a long article about Australia’s Industrial Manslaughter (IM) laws. It is a very good article but includes a lot of information that should already be familiar to those who have followed the development of IM laws over the last two decades.
The West Australian government presented its new Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill to Parliament in November 2019 and debate has continued in February 2020. Joining with most other States in using the model WHS legislation is a major change for that State as it not only brings one set of occupational health and safety (OHS) laws to all businesses, including mines and petroleum, but it introduces the offence of Industrial Manslaughter. However, IM in WA has a two option penalty – “Industrial manslaughter – crime” and “Industrial manslaughter – simple offence”.
On 25 February 2020, I spoke at a breakfast seminar at the Ballarat Regional Occupational Safety & Health Group (BROSH) on emerging OHS risks and strategies. Below is an edited version of that talk, which touched on CORVID19, bushfire smoke, sexual harassment, mental health, safety culture and communication:
Industrial Manslaughter laws will come into effect in Victoria in the middle of this year. Anyone who thinks these laws may relate to their workplace or how their businesses are run, should be afraid. But they should also be ashamed. If they are worried about going to jail because their OHS decisions may be negligent, they are not managing the safety and health of their workers in the way the law intended, or the Regulator and the community expects. They should be ashamed.
If you need an authoritative and informative speaker on workplace health and safety for your event, or just good, practical OHS advice, email Kevin Jones
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.
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.