The Albanese Government is seriously stepping up efforts to reduce avoidable workplace fatalities, reports Alan Austin.
After eight years of Australian workers to be killed at an average rate of almost 200 per year and Industrial Relations Minister Tony Burke has said enough is enough.
Criminalising workplace negligence
The Albanese Government has announced it will criminalise industrial manslaughter, which will be defined as a workplace death resulting from negligence or recklessness.
Under the proposed legislation, corporations will cop greatly increased fines while business managers will face a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment.
The new laws will increase by a factor of five the monetary penalties for “category one offences”, which apply when a health and safety duty is breached recklessly or criminally negligently. Fines rise from $3 million to $15 million.
The new laws, which come into effect next July, follow legislation passed in February which changed the Commonwealth’s work health and safety laws to include negligence as a fault element, lowering the bar for conviction. This means both reckless and grossly negligent employers can now face the most serious consequences.
The new laws prohibit using insurance to cover financial penalties incurred for workplace safety breaches, ensuring the fines act as an effective deterrent rather than allowing worker deaths to continue as just another operational cost.
These laws implement recommendations of the 2018 Boland Review.
Source: Independant Australia