Industrial Manslaughter | Workplace Health and Safety Obligations

Significant addition to the OHS Act is now in place

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If you are a business owner and employ staff, then you need to be aware of the new industrial manslaughter laws that have been added to the OHS Act, that came into force on 1st July 2020. They apply to organisations (including bodies corporate, partnerships, unincorporated bodies and unincorporated associations), self-employed persons, as well as officers of body corporates, partnerships, and unincorporated bodies or associations.

The new laws will attract the highest penalty in the OHS Act, introducing maximum fines of approx $16.5m for employers and jail terms of up to 20 years and fines of up to $1.65m for officers whose actions or omissions:

  • cause the death of a worker or member of the public;
  • involve a breach of an OHS duty;
  • were negligent.

So what does this mean for you and your business? What steps do you need to take to ensure that you are in step with demonstrated actions that will protect you from having a workplace death at your business, and finding yourself facing a prison sentence and/or a massive fine? Do you have an understanding of your obligations under the Act in general?

Initially you will need to review your site and the nature of the tasks carried out within it. You will need to gain an understanding of the elements of the Act relevant to the running of your business. You may need to develop procedures and practices, as well put in place protective measures, including equipment. What systems do you have to record relevant information, and to be able to recall these records? Do you have the right sort of consultative mechanisms to ensure that you develop effective measures and comply with the Act? You may be confident that you have the understanding and time to do this yourself. If not, you should bring in expertise to do this in a timely and effective manner, and ensure the safety of your team and your compliance with the Act.

Contact Beaumont Advisory if you have any questions about your workplace safety obligations

Contact our expert staff at Beaumont Advisory to answer any questions you have about your workplace safety obligations. We can be contacted by phoning 03 9726 9822, or make an enquiry on our website at

(Please note: The information in this post does not constitute legal advice. Please contact us if you require legal advice relating to the topics discussed.)

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