New offence to target deadly workplace practices

By Jeff Salton on May 23rd, 2017

The Queensland Government will introduce the new offence of ‘negligence causing death’ following an interim recommendation stemming from its current review of workplace health and safety.

Queensland Employment Minister Grace Grace said the independent reviewer of its current laws, Tim Lyons, had written to her advising of his preliminary view that the offence should be created.

The Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety was established following the Eagle Farm and Dreamworld tragedies in 2016 and the independent reviewer’s report is due to be presented to the government by 30 June 2017.

Background

On 6 October last year, two workers at Eagle Farm Race Course were crushed by a falling 10-tonne concrete panel. The construction supervisor was charged with two counts of manslaughter.

Later that month, four adults were killed on the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld when their raft capsized.

After these tragic events last year, concerns were raised about public safety and workplace health and safety matters in Queensland and the effectiveness of current offences and penalties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

“We want to ensure our workplace health and safety laws are operating at best practice and the Government is prepared to make the relevant changes to ensure this is the case,” Ms Grace said.

By accepting Mr Lyons’ recommendation, the government will empower him to consult with stakeholders to determine the best practice model for introduction and implementation of the offence, rather than further considering the merits of its introduction.

Ms Grace said the scope of the review is much wider than this issue and includes an audit of work health and safety laws, procedures, inspections, investigations and prosecutions.

Worker safety

If Queensland’s introduction of new offences is seen as a deterrent to workplace safety breaches, other jurisdictions may soon follow. This means it’s vital that wherever your business is located, that you are doing all in your powers to ensure the safety of your workers and visitors by meeting your legal workplace health and safety obligations.

Don’t risk facing this new penalty … or any other charge for negligence.

Find out what the law states by subscribing to the Health & Safety Handbook. Written in plain English by the health and safety lawyers at Holding Redlich, the Handbook has more than 70 chapters dealing with every aspect of workplace health and safety.

Take an obligation-free trial of the Health & Safety Handbook today to see how it can help simplify your business.

 





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