Action needed on industrial manslaughter

An increase in workplace fatalities highlights the need for industrial manslaughter to be recognised as a criminal offence. Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations Michelle O’Byrne said new data shows workplace deaths have increased across Australia for the first time since 2007.

“During WorkSafe Month, these stark statistics are a reminder that everyone deserves to go home from work at the end of the day. But the data from Safe Work Australia shows an alarming number of people have been injured or killed on the job.

“No-one understands better than Guy Hudson the tragedy of losing a loved one in a workplace accident. His son Matthew was killed in a forklift accident on his first day at work, aged just 16.

“Matthew did not have a forklift licence and should not have been doing this task. Compounding the tragedy for his family, the company was fined just $25,000, less than 20 percent of the maximum fine that could have been applied.

“Mr Hudson said at the time: ‘Their insurance will cover the $25,000 and we’re left with a life full of grief.’

“It’s time Tasmania made industrial manslaughter a crime and toughened up the range of penalties. Modest fines send the wrong message to employers. Fines must be big enough to make employers commit to investing in worker safety.

“A review of national WHS laws recommended that a new offence of industrial manslaughter be included in those laws. Labor is calling on the Liberal Government to act to introduce industrial manslaughter provisions immediately to better protect Tasmanian workers and their families.”

Source: Michelle O’Byrne
(Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations)

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