New NSW Bill: Industrial Manslaughter Offenders Face 25 Years Jail Time


New NSW Bill: Industrial Manslaughter Offenders Face 25 Years Jail Time

A groundbreaking bill has been unveiled in New South Wales, introducing the toughest penalties for industrial manslaughter across Australia. The Work Health and Safety Amendment (Industrial Manslaughter) Bill 2024, presented to the Legislative Assembly on June 4, 2024, aims to establish stringent measures against negligence resulting in workplace fatalities.

Key Elements of the Offence:

The proposed legislation outlines that a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) or an officer can be found guilty of industrial manslaughter if their gross negligence leads to the death of a worker or anyone owed a duty of care. Notably, the bill extends coverage to gig workers like food delivery riders, broadening the scope of accountability.

Penalties:

Individuals convicted under this law could face up to 25 years in prison, while corporations could be fined up to $20 million. These penalties, surpassing those recommended in the Model Work Health and Safety Act, align with manslaughter charges under the Crimes Act 1990, emphasising the gravity of negligent conduct resulting in loss of life.

Legal Procedures:

The bill eliminates any limitation period for prosecuting industrial manslaughter cases and allows for alternative verdicts of a Category 1 offence. Proceedings against individuals charged with this offence will be treated as indictable, ensuring a trial by jury. On the other hand, corporations may face summary or indictable proceedings, handled respectively by SafeWork NSW, the NSW Resources Regulator, or the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Attribution of Negligence:

A new provision clarifies how gross negligence is attributed to corporations, acknowledging collective responsibility for inadequate management or failure to provide adequate systems. This provision underscores the accountability of organizations as a whole for negligent conduct.

Future Implementation:

The commencement of the industrial manslaughter provisions is contingent upon the bill’s passing and subsequent proclamation. Once enacted, these provisions will mark a significant step towards ensuring workplace safety and holding accountable those responsible for preventable fatalities.

For further inquiries regarding the implications of the new bill or any other employment-related concerns, individuals are encouraged to reach out to Sarah Cappello Partner in our Workplace Relations team, at 9391 3113. Sarah and our team are equipped to provide guidance and support on navigating the intricacies of workplace legislation and ensuring compliance with evolving regulatory frameworks.

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