Changes to the Victorian Manslaughter Laws

Changes to Workplace Manslaughter Laws banner

Did you miss our Industrial Manslaughter Webinar?
Hosted by Insurance House National Sales Manager Mark Farrugia with special guest speaker Michelle Christmas, Senior Associate at Carter Newell Lawyers. This webinar recorded back in May focuses on the Manslaughter Legislation changes in Victoria and also provides an overview on the impact the legislation has on Workers Compensation. Watch the webinar here.

 

The new laws relating to Industrial Manslaughter came into effect in Victoria on 1 July 2020. In essence, if a person is an officer of an organisation and is found guilty of Industrial Manslaughter, it can lead to maximum jail term of 25 years and a maximum fine of $16.5 million.

The offence applies to negligent conduct by an employer or other duty holders as outlined below, or an officer of an organisation, which breaches certain duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) and causes the death of another person who was owed the duty.

The workplace manslaughter provisions will not operate retrospectively. This means that only a death that occurs after 1 July 2020 will be considered.

 

What you can do

General and broad legal advice within the industry at present ahead of any precedent under the new laws are:

  • Review and update (as necessary) your organisation's work health and safety policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the applicable safety legislation.
  • Undertake a safety audit of your workplace practices, controls and systems to identify any potential hazards or risks to safety.
  • Conduct a formal review of all safety systems and controls currently in place and ensure they are fully effective.
  • Conduct training sessions and provide information to workers, managers and officers on a regular basis (and especially where there have been operational changes) to ensure everyone is aware of their safety obligations and to update management on any new laws.
  • Ensure that all new workers undergo a proper induction concerning any safety matters.
  • Prepare, collate and keep up to date records on work health and safety matters and incidents and review those records to identify any trends and areas of risk.
  • Review workplace health and safety leadership and culture to ensure any alleged negligent conduct is not permitted or condoned by the company or its culture.
  • Review the insurance arrangements for the company and its officers and ensure there is appropriate coverage.
  • Take proactive steps to identify, assess and eliminate (or at the least minimise) risks and hazards to the health and safety of workers and other persons in the workplace.

For more information, visit Worksafe Victoria's dedicated Victorian Workplace Manslaughter Laws information page.

 

If you need to speak to a broker to ensure that you have appropriate insurance coverage in light of these changes, please call us on 1300 305 834 or email ih@ihgroup.com.au.

 

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This article was reproduced with the permission of Richard Read from Read Consulting Group. Richard Read is our in-house risk management consultant. 

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Our advice is general in nature. To read the full General Advice Warning click here.

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