ACT: serious penalties for industrial manslaughter conviction

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Sunday, 8 August, 2021 - 13:15
Policy & legislation
Australian Capital Territory

Industrial Manslaughter is now an offence under the ACT’s Work Health and Safety Act after a bill was passed on 5 August 2021.

The bill was introduced in response to recommendations made in the 2018 Boland Review into work health and safety laws, along with the Federal Senate Inquiry on Industrial Deaths.

In 2020, 182 Australians were killed at work and there have been 60 workplace deaths in Australia in 2021.

“Every worker has the right to a safe workplace, and the right to return home safely at the end of the day. Poor safety practices and culture in any workplace that put human life at risk will not be tolerated,” said ACT Work Health and Safety Commissioner, Jacqueline Agius.

WorkSafe ACT has recruited a family liaison officer to assist and support the family of a deceased worker in keeping them informed about investigation and prosecution processes. They will also assist families by connecting them to local and national support services to help them through this difficult time.

The amendment of the bill outlines that where there is a gross deviation from the reasonable standard of care from a PCBU that endangers the lives of their workers, there will be severe penalties.

An industrial manslaughter conviction in the ACT carries the penalty of possible imprisonment of up to 20 years for individuals and a $16.5 million penalty for corporations.