Industrial Manslaughter laws likely for Victoria

With little surprise, at the Australian Labor Party (ALP) Conference in Victoria on 26 May 2018, Premier Daniel Andrews has included the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter laws as a formal part of the campaign for re-election in November 2018.

According to his media release, if re-elected,

“.., employers will face fines of almost $16 million and individuals responsible for negligently causing death will be held to account and face up to 20 years in jail.

A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will make sure all Victorians are safe in our workplaces, with the offence to also apply when an employer’s negligent conduct causes the death of an innocent member of the public..”

There are a lot of steps between an incident and Industrial Manslaughter charges. 

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Victoria joins the push for licencing labour hire

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Victoria is the latest Australian State to introduce laws into Parliament that establish a licencing scheme for labour hire operators. The Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 was read into Parliament on 14 December 2017 (Hansard, pages 55-61)

The Bill is compatible with the laws passed recently in Queensland and South Australia which apply a universal licencing scheme rather than a sectoral one as preferred by some organisations.  This should make the scheme easier to administer as it removes demarcation disputes and, as pointed out by the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, removes loopholes of opportunity for avoiding obligations – a critical consideration in a sector that has shown such disregard for legal obligations. Continue reading “Victoria joins the push for licencing labour hire”

Government could help progress OHS so much more

Innovation in occupational health and safety (OHS) is often encouraged by government but government processes and policy can also discourage and limit this.  An obvious example is where government insists on compliance with OHS laws in its tendering criteria but acknowledges that the tender safety criteria remains outdated and, privately, that OHS compliance is not enough to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.

An important OHS document in the Victorian bureaucracy and construction sector is a

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OHS consultant guilty of impersonating a SafeWork SA inspector

There are several important lessons from a recent conviction of an occupational health and safety consultant (OHS) in South Australia for impersonating a SafeWork SA inspector on multiple occasions.

According to SafeWorkSA’s media release, Sam Narroway has been found guilty of impersonating a SafeWork South Australia Inspector and fined $A15,000.  Presiding Industrial Magistrate Lieschke stated that

“In my view these are serious offences – they involved risk to the community, damage to the credibility of SafeWork SA and to professional work health safety consultants”.

According to LinkedIn and as acknowledged in the Court judgement, Sam Narroway is now the Chief Executive Officer of Australian Workplace Safety Group.  Narroway has described this new company as a successful venture and indications are that he intends to restart his career.

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Cry of frustration in Industrial Manslaughter Bill

Over the last few months some in Australia’s trade union movement have renewed calls for the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws in various jurisdictions. The issue has appeared both on television and online.

Curiously the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) seems to have dropped the “industrial manslaughter” terminology it has used in the past. In a 28 April 2015 media release, the ACTU stated:

““Strengthening OHS laws to make negligent companies and individual directors liable sends a clear message to employers that they must ensure people are safe at work.”

and

“Current laws need to be strengthened so that companies and company directors are liable for our safety at work.”

It seems that the charge has been left to the South Australian Greens Parliamentarian,

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