As reported in our earlier article (found here), the Victorian government announced in 2018 that it would introduce an industrial manslaughter offence. The Minister for Workplace Safety, The Hon Jill Hennessy, today announced that new ‘workplace manslaughter’ laws were introduced in Parliament.
The Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter and other matters) Bill 2019 has been introduced to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) although a copy of the Bill is not yet available.
The media release states that the proposed laws will apply to employers, self-employed persons and ‘officers’, who negligently cause a workplace death (and will apply when the negligent conduct causes the death of a member of the public). The maximum fine will be to $16.5 million and individuals will face up to 20 years in jail.
If passed, Victoria will join, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland in having industrial manslaughter offences. The Northern Territory has recently sought submissions on the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019 (NT), which if passed would impose a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for individuals or just over $10 million for corporations.