Industrial Manslaughter – Now law in NSW

25 June 2024

Industrial Manslaughter – New South Wales

On 20 June 2024, the New South Wales Government passed the Bill for the introduction of the offence of Industrial Manslaughter into the Work Health and Safety Act of NSW.

As we discussed in our recent article (click here to view) on the amendments to the Work Health and Safety Act, the new offence imposes a maximum penalty of $20 million for a body corporate and 25 years imprisonment for an individual.

However, the legislation that was passed was amended to include further requirements upon an Officer to comply with the Officer’s health and safety duty.

We do expect that the new Industrial Manslaughter offence will commence in the short term.

Presently, every state and territory across Australia, has enacted the offence of Industrial Manslaughter, except Tasmania, where a Bill proposing an industrial manslaughter offence is presently before parliament.

Queensland Industrial Manslaughter Prosecution

On 14 June 2024, a national fibreglass pool manufacturing company was convicted and fined $1.5 million after pleading guilty to Industrial Manslaughter in the District Court at Brisbane.

The company was operating a 12 tonne Franna mobile crane at its workplace at Stapylton in Queensland where fibreglass swimming pools are prepared for delivery. On the 19 August 2021, the yard foreman was performing the role of a dogman for the Franna crane to lift and transport a 650 Kg fibreglass pool. The yard foreman used a tether and walked along side the hoisted pool, before moving in front of the pool, when the Franna crane operator lost site of the yardman and travelled over him causing fatal injuries.

The investigation revealed the company had limited safety systems in place and that the company management were aware of the practice of a dogman walking in front of a mobilised crane.

The District Court of Queensland determined that the company had mechanisms in place for work health and safety compliance and following the incident was working with consultancy firms to further identify work health and safety risks.

The District Court considered the mitigating factors of the company, that it had no prior convictions and had an excellent record of giving products and money to worthy charities. The court convicted and fined the company $1.5 million.

This article was written by Greg McCann, Partner and James Condren, Solicitor.

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