Industrial manslaughter to be criminalised in SA

29 November 2023

New laws making industrial manslaughter a criminal offence in South Australia have passed Parliament.

Under the Work Health and Safety (Industrial Manslaughter) Amendment Bill, individuals can face a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, and $18 million for companies, if they are reckless or grossly negligent in conduct which breaches a work health and safety duty and results in the death of another person.

These new laws will ensure the most serious health and safety breaches carry a penalty which sends a clear message that people who place workers’ lives at risk will be held to account. These penalties also recognise the significant loss suffered by the families of workers who die in preventable workplace incidents.

The passage of this bill fulfils a key Government election commitment and brings South Australia into line with other jurisdictions which have made industrial manslaughter a crime, including the ACT, NT, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.

The legislation does not impose any new duties that are not already owed under current workplace laws. Instead, it ensures that when those duties are breached and this results in the death of a person, the penalty reflects the severity of the crime.

Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector Kyam Maher said every South Australian deserved to be safe in their workplace and come home to their loved ones at the end of each day.

‘Many families of victims of workplace incidents have campaigned for industrial manslaughter laws and this week, the South Australian Parliament will deliver,’ he said.

‘While tragic workplace incidents do occur from time to time, our industrial manslaughter laws recognise it is not an accident when people deliberately cut corners and place worker’s lives at risk.

‘It is a crime and it will be treated like one.’