Industrial manslaughter and tougher workplace safety laws promised for Victoria

In the lead up to the Victorian State election, re-elected Premier Daniel Andrews made a commitment to introduce manslaughter as an offence to the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic).

If the manslaughter offence is introduced, Victorian employers will face fines of up to 100,000 penalty units, equalling over $16 million, for a finding of guilt. This is more than $6 million higher than Queensland’s industrial manslaughter offence penalty, which is currently set at $10 million.

Further, an individual who negligently causes a work-related death may face imprisonment for up to 20 years.

Labor also made various other safety-related commitments, including:

  • investing $12.7 million to improve WorkSafe’s capacity to deal with safety risks on large construction sites and engaging 40 additional specialist inspectors over a 4-year span;
  • introducing a $3 million health and safety strategy for farms; and
  • acting on recommendations of last year’s OHS compliance and enforcement review.

Stay tuned for updates on the implementation of these proposed changes and contact our Employment, Safety and Migration team for more information on how you can meet your obligations and promote safe working conditions and culture.

This article was written by Cinzia Pietrolungo, Lawyer – Employment, Safety and Migration.