The South Australian government has announced it will become the latest jurisdiction to make industrial manslaughter a criminal offence under the Work Health and Safety (Industrial Manslaughter) Amendment Bill.
After the conclusion of a consultation process, the South Australian government announced it will introduce the Work Health and Safety (Industrial Manslaughter) Amendment Bill (Bill) this week. If passed, the Bill will criminalise and introduce the offence of industrial manslaughter in South Australia.
Under the Bill, individuals will face a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, while companies will face a maximum penalty of $18 million if they engage in reckless or grossly negligent conduct, which breaches a work health and safety duty under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) and results in death. The maximum financial penalty has increased from earlier drafts of the Bill.
The inclusion of a gross negligence standard reflects the recommendations in the ‘Review of the model Work Health and Safety laws – Final report’ by Marie Boland, released in 2018.
Although the potential introduction of the offence of industrial manslaughter does not alter existing health and safety duties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA), it sends a clear message that serious conduct resulting in a death at work can result in very significant penalties.
If passed, the Bill will bring South Australia into line with other jurisdictions around the country with the offence of industrial manslaughter already existing in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, and the ACT.