The Labor Government will this week introduce new laws to make industrial manslaughter a criminal offence in South Australia.
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 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.
Introduction 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 Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, and the ACT.
The new laws do 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.
This legislation follows a significant community consultation process which has included unions, business groups, and work health and safety professionals.
Attributable to Kyam Maher
Every South Australian deserves to be safe in the workplace and come home to their loved ones at the end of each day.
Industrial manslaughter laws recognise that, while tragic workplace incidents do occur from time to time, it’s not an accident when people deliberately cut corners and place worker’s lives at risk. It’s a crime and it will be treated like one.
The overwhelming majority of businesses in South Australia do the right thing and take the health and safety of their workers seriously.
This legislation sends a clear message to any dodgy operators that are reckless or grossly negligent with their workers’ health and safety that they will be held to account.
Importantly, this legislation will bring South Australia into line with most other states that already have industrial manslaughter laws.
I pay tribute to the many families of victims of workplace incidents who have campaigned for these laws. I hope these changes to the legislation will ensure no family has to experience this again.